Govt plans to create biometric data base of MNREGA workers

New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singhtoday said the government proposes to create a biometric database of all workers covered under its flagship MNREGA schemeand use it to authenticate work applications, work-siteattendance and wage payments.

Making the announcement at a function held here to markfive years of the launch of Mahatma Gandhi National RuralEmployment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Singh said, "We hope itwill substantially reduce instances of discrimination in workallocation, delayed payments and bogus muster rolls."

The Prime Minister also expressed concern over problemsin implementation of MNREGA in Naxal-affected areas. Heannounced that the government will establish a technicalunit, comprising a panchayat development officer and ajunior engineer, in each gram panchayat.

"Priority is being given to Left-wing extremism affecteddistricts, and districts where the annual MNREGA expenditureis above Rs 100 crore," Singh said.

He also took note of reports of harassment andintimidation of social auditors.

"Authorities should take strict action in such cases.

Comprehensive rules to strengthen the social audit process bythe gram sabha are being formulated," Singh said.

The Prime Minister maintained that MNREGA had generated880 crore person days of work since its inception.

"52 per cent of the work has been done by thosebelonging to the Scheduled Cases and Scheduled Tribes and 47per cent by women," he said.

Singh also noted that wages under MNREGA were now beingdisbursed through more than 10 crore bank and post officeaccounts.

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