- Recently, there have been regular complaints from Mates (site supervisors) that their wages under the MGNREGA are delayed for which the Union Rural Development Ministry has devised a protocol which would prioritise payment to Mates.
- Who are Mates?
- They are the frontline supervisors of the programmes.
- They are listed as semi-skilled workers because of the specialist nature of their job.
- Payments under MGNREGA:
- Wages of unskilled workers are to be paid within 15 days and if there is a delay in payment then the Centre has to compensate them.
- What is the main issue?
- Wages of Mates come from the material component of which 60% is paid by the Union government.
- This component is now being released erratically, caught up in bureaucratic delays and chronic fund crunch.
- Due to this, Mates have started listing themselves as unskilled workers to get the wages on time.
- The difference in wages as compared to the unskilled workers is usually minor and they can beat the delay in the payments for semi-skilled workers which can go up to a year.
- Steps to resolve this issue:
- The ministry has streamlined the process by which the attendance and wages of the Mates are recorded.
- The muster roll for Mates must be issued soon after generating muster roll for unskilled workers.
- A muster roll register is a register that contains the names of all the employees or workers working in a particular unit.
- Reports on day-wise pendency in payment to Mates may be generated.
- States will have to clear the payments for the Mates, before they can distribute the funds to the vendor.
- Eventually, Mates wages should be completely delinked with the material component.