Deletions of Job Cards, Names In NREGA Cause For Concern

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and Lib Tech are extremely concerned about the huge number of deletions of Job Cards and names of workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) during 2022-23. These deletions have resulted in a deprivation of the right to work of the people in the rural and tribal areas.

A three-member HRF and Lib Tech India team visited three villages in the Gummalakshmipuram (Chintalapadu and Balesu) and Kurupam (Durbili) mandals of Parvathipuram Manyam district on Saturday (Aug. 19) to understand reports of deletion of Job Cards and names of wage seekers under the MGNREGA programme. The visit was undertaken in the background of a recent report by Lib Tech, a group of researchers and activists, that highlighted the issue of large-scale deletions under NREGA in AP and several other States. The report underscored the fact that 77.9 lakh workers were deleted during 2022-23 in Andhra Pradesh. This is a whopping net deletion of 59.6% of the total 1.22 crore workers in the State!

Our team spoke with 30 workers, in the 3 villages, whose names were deleted in the NREGA records. The reasons for the deletion were mentioned as ‘unwilling to work’ or ‘person died’ or ‘person non-existent in the panchayat’. We found these reasons to be valid in only five, while in the remaining 25, it was a clear case of wrongful deletion.

For instance, Mr. Kolaka Rangarao (29) of Chinatalapadu village told us that his name was removed and the reason stated was that he was ‘deceased’! Ms. Aarika Chukkamma of Durbili village was desperately seeking work under NREGA but her name was removed with the reason of ‘unwilling to work’. In our interaction with workers, mates and field assistants of NREGA, we learnt that these deletions followed the shifting of the payment system to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of the Central government data base and the mandatory shifting to Aadhar-based payment system from the earlier bank account based system.

We gathered that all workers are expected to link their bank accounts with the correct Aadhar number, complete the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) mapping and make sure that all details in Aadhar Card, Job Card and Ration Card are correct in respect of name, age and gender and all are matching. In tribal areas where services of banks and Aadhar centres are poor, Adivasis have been subjected to a lot of drudgery by having to make multiple visits to Aadhar

Human Rights Forum
Andhra Pradesh

20 August 2023

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