Only 54 percent of the bank accounts belonging to rural employment guarantee program workers were seeded with Aadhaar, leaving a large number of payments that may go to unauthenticated financial addresses.
According to government data, there are 78.91 lakh of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) worker bank accounts in Karnataka. Of this total, 42.73 lakh, or 54.15 percent, is seeded with Aadhaar. For them, salaries are credited only to their bank accounts linked to Aadhaar, known as the Aadhaar Compatible Payment System (AePS).
The remaining 36.17 lakh workers receive wages in their bank accounts. But, there is no way to be sure that these bank accounts belong to the workers because they are not seeded with Aadhaar.
The government is doubling the AePS because it will ensure that the money reaches the correct bank account. In August 2018, the government made Aadhaar the basis for all payments to beneficiaries.
“We have 96 percent of the MGNREGA labor cards seeded with Aadhaar, but the priming of bank accounts is delayed,” said LK Atheeq, Principal Secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR).
“There is a certain amount of paperwork involved. There is a letter of consent that workers must sign. These letters then go to the National Payments Corporation of India. Once the work cards and bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar, AePS will take place, ”he explained.
According to Atheeq, Aadhaar’s non-seeding with workers’ bank accounts did not deprive them of wages. “AePS is desirable because it possibly reduces the rejection rate in transactions,” he said. “There is a small percentage of transactions that are often rejected due to a phone number mismatch or if the phone number is associated with another Aadhaar,” he said. Whenever a transaction is rejected, Atheeq has declared that the funds transfer order is regenerated.
Apparently the banks are delaying the seeding of Aadhaar. “It needs the cooperation of the banks,” Atheeq said.
There are seven districts where less than 50 percent of MGNREGA bank accounts are managed by Aadhaar: Kolar, Bagalkot, Bengaluru Urban, Vijayapura, Bidar, Kalaburagi and Yadgir.
Under MGNREGA, semi-skilled and unskilled workers are paid Rs 289 per day for a minimum of 100 working days per year.
Aadhaar seeding is better when it comes to Jan Dhan accounts: 81% of the 1.81 crore accounts were seeded. Likewise, 87 percent of all active CASA (current savings accounts) accounts in the state are backed by Aadhaar.