22 July :Post Offices in the country have opened more than 110 lakh accounts in the names of the beneficiaries of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) for making timely disbursement of wages. Recently, the Department of Posts signed MoUs with the State Governments of Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat for payment of wages to job card holders in these states.
An important concern of the NREG Scheme is that every worker is paid his/her wages for the work done expeditiously and correctly. With a view to address this concern, the Government had decided that payment of wages to the workers will be done only through Banks or Post Offices. In order to facilitate this, Department of Posts in collaboration with NIC and BSNL is working towards establishing an electronic Payment System. The highlights of this system are as follows:
(i) NREGS workers will open their accounts in the nearest Post Office for payments of their wages. In order to ensure that the workers are paid actual amount due to them, the amount of money to be paid to the workers based on the measurement of work done and attendance will be electronically transferred to the Payment System and directly credited into the accounts of the workers without any manual intervention.
(ii) For the purpose of identification of NREGS workers at the time of making payment and providing other savings bank related services to them, Department of Posts will issue smart cards at the time of opening of accounts. These cards will work as their ID cards as well as electronic Passbook. Post Office will not be able to make any transaction on behalf of the workers without using the smart card of the worker concerned. These cards will also have the photograph of the worker printed on it so as to ensure that the card belongs only to the presenting worker.
(iii) One of the key aspects of the software being implemented for the electronic Payment System is to ensure the security of transaction made from the mobile phone being used at the Post Office to the central server.
A pilot implementation of this system is being planned by the Government in selected districts of Orissa which is expected to be operational by December, 2008.