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29th January 2024 (9 Topics)

Concerns Regarding ABPS in MGNREGS

Context: The mandatory implementation of Aadhaar-Based Payment Systems (ABPS) in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) raises concerns about potential exclusions and violation of rights.

  1. Exclusionary Design and Technological Glitches:

- ABPS Process: The ABPS requires the seeding of Aadhaar numbers with job cards, linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, and mapping Aadhaar through a software mapper.

-Potential Errors and Exclusion: Errors in any step can lead to denial of work, wage non-payment, or funds directed to the wrong account.

- Worker's Hardship: Workers face financial losses and spend significant time rectifying technological glitches, challenging the government's claims of efficiency gains.

  1. Government Claims vs. Reality:

- Efficiency Claims: The government asserts that ABPS would eliminate duplicate job cards, reduce payment delays, and lower rejections. However, research papers question the validity of these claims.

- Deletion Issues: Job card deletions have surged by 247% in FY 2022–23, raising concerns about the accuracy and motives behind the deletions.

-Lack of Audit: No publicly available audits on the procedures followed for deleting job cards.

  1. Misrepresentation of Research Findings:

- ABPS Efficiency: The Ministry misrepresents a study by LibTech, claiming endorsement of ABPS. However, the study, based on a sample of 3.2 crore transactions, finds no statistically significant difference in efficiency between ABPS and account-based payments.

- Rejection Rates: Contrary to government claims, the research paper shows no statistically significant difference in rejection rates between ABPS and account-based payments.

- Advocacy for Account-Based Payments: The difficulties in resolving problems with ABPS outweigh the challenges in account-based payments, leading to the advocacy for the latter.

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