Karnataka: Caste-based wage disbursal at MGNREGA sites slammed | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: A central government decision to disburse wages at Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) worksites based on caste and track released funds has raised the hackles of recipients in Karnataka.
The April 2021 directive asked every state, which earlier had a single bank account for funds from the Centre, to open three accounts on caste lines — for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and general categories.

Every MGNREGA worker was slotted in one of the three categories and would receive wages only from that particular master account. The exercise has been hit as the Centre has been unable to release equitable amounts to all three accounts.
“We have a problem when there was none. Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) in the state are facing allegations from groups who claim payments have been delayed due to casteism,” a senior government official said.
Kudligi taluk in Vijayanagara district is a case in point. According to Rural Development and Panchayat Raj officials, several MGNREGA sites in this taluk received wages only for ST labourers earlier this month.
There was a delay of 10 days for SC and general category workers. This enraged workers of these two communities and they cast aspersions on the PDO who belongs to the ST group.
50 plaints from Mandya alone: Farmer leader
Government said there have officials been many such cases and the issue has been raised with the Centre. Labour unions too complained to the government.
“We have received over 50 complaints from Mandya district, where SC and ST workers got wages before those from the general category and PDOs blamed the government. The caste divide deepens due to such things,” said T Yeshavantha, committee member, Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha.
The state government may apprise the Centre about the growing discontent and seek an early resolution.
Meanwhile, every worker has to enter the community to which he belongs in the attendance registry and this too has caused unrest.
MNREGA commissioner Anirudh Sravan said the current model of wage disbursement is new and it’ll take time to assess the situation.
RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa said there have been concerns of caste-based distribution of wages. As and when money is available to the Centre, it’s distributed to states.
While ST workers get it first at times, SC and general categories get it earlier the next time. There is no discrimination and all wages are paid within a month.

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