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Aadhar to be linked to NREGS wages


With clouds of uncertainty hovering over the Aadhar scheme, the Centre is making a desperate effort to provide it oxygen of linking it to entitlements.

As of now, only 3.5 crore unique identification cards have been issued as against an enrolment of 10 crore people across the country. Doubts about Aadhar increased when the Reserve Bank of India issued a directive that bank accounts could not be opened on the basis of UID cards. But later clarified that Aadhar cards can be accepted as a proof of identity and residence.

What is bothering the Union government is that Aadhar will be judged not by the coverage in terms of numbers but by the impact it creates as a card-bearing benefit. But possession of the Aadhar card is not mandatory.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has proposed to link Aadhar with payment of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the five States where the ministry has been appointed registrar for issuance of UID cards.

Under an MoU signed between UIDAI and states, the ministry has appointed registrar for collection of data in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura and West Bengal. Other Central government departments such as Food and Civil Supplies and Information and Technology have been assigned the role in other States.

The MGNREGS wages will be paid in these States through Aadhar-linked bank accounts.

The rural development minister favours a timeline of 12 months to issue UID cards to all job cardholders. But it still seems a tough task, even if linking Aadhar to MGNREGS wage payment is limited to these five States. For, as against the 3.09 crore job cards issued in these States, only 39 lakh BPL households have been provided with bank accounts.

West Bengal accounts for 22.16 lakh, way behind the 1.08 crore job cards issued there. In Assam too, only about 20 per cent (7.42 lakh) of the job card holders (38.4) have secured bank accounts. Things are even worse in Bihar where only 1.73 lakh MGNREGS workers have bank accounts, though the number of job card holders is 1.16 crore, and in Jharkhand, where only 2.6 lakh out of 39.5 lakh job card holders have bank accounts.

Tripura is the only State which has done well, ensuring that four lakh MGNREGS workers out of 5.9 lakh job card holders have bank accounts.

Write to d-sector  |  Editor's Note

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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