4 July:The Ministry of Rural Development decided upon using telephone based banking services which would be easily accessible to the workers even in the remote areas of the country for checking irregularities in the payment of wages and to safeguard rights of workers The Ministry has accordingly requested the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India to facilitate the process of disbursement of wages to NREGA workers through bank accounts and disseminate the new technology to promote branchless banking through mobile phones.
During the year 2007-08 Rs 10,738.47 crore was paid as wages under NREGA to more than 3.3 crore households out of a total expenditure of Rs 15,856.89 crore. Such huge flow of funds from Government treasury to poor rural households provides an immense opportunity to bring the beneficiaries into the fold of the organized banking system. Central Government has advised the State Governments to launch a massive campaign for opening of saving accounts of the NREGA workers in banks and post offices. As a result the total number of Bank and Post office accounts opened across the country under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has reached 1.9 crore.
Following the request of the Ministry of Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance (Department of Financial Services) has advised the Reserve Bank of India to facilitate an effective process of disbursement of wages to NREGA wage earners. The Department has advised all banks to support the NREGA wage earners in opening of Bank accounts. In this regard the banks will be asked to support initiatives like Smart Cards and other technological interventions for facilitating easy and effective disbursement of wages to the right beneficiaries. RBI will also examine the concept of the banks utilizing Mobile van banking with use of Biometric technology for easy disbursement to beneficiaries, wherever required. RBI will monitor opening of NREGA accounts by banks quarterly in SLBC meetings for all States and Union Territories.