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Sonowal presses for online payment of wages in tea gardens

Guwahati: As part of a mega exercise to facilitate digital payment of wages to tea garden workers, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed banks to complete opening of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) bank accounts for the workers by December 5 so that weekly and fortnightly wages can be paid online from December 10.

A spokesperson said Sonowal, in a series of meetings with stakeholders in the tea sector, banks, the Reserve Bank of India and the labour department, has drawn up an action plan to ensure 100% digital payment of wages in tea gardens of the state.

Each tea garden has been asked to prepare a list of employees and workers who do not have bank accounts and submit the same to the service area bank.

"The service area bank which had earlier opened PMJDY accounts for the workers shall open more such accounts by arranging a camp on the premises of each tea garden. This process shall be completed by December 5 so that wages can be paid directly to the account by December 10," the spokesperson said.

While tea garden managements will provide space for installation of ATM on their premises, banks will examine the feasibility of declaring the tea garden management as Customer Service Plan (CSP) so that the workers can get cash payment from the management.

The government has asked deputy commissioners and lead bank managers to arrange for awareness camps involving NABARD to ensure financial literacy in those areas before December 5. Bankers will also explore the possibility of dispensing cash through establishing banking correspondents.

"Besides, a large-scale digital payment literacy campaign has been planned for December by the higher education department and the State Bank of India in which 20,000 NSS volunteers will be involved. Preparatory activities have already commenced. Deputy commissioners of the district were asked to liaise with officers of labour departments of both state and the Centre, as advised by the Centre, to ensure financial inclusion and digital payment to all labourers working in each district in the informal sector as well," the spokesperson added.

Source:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/Sonowal-presses-for-online-payment-of-wages-in-tea-gardens/articleshow/55693111.cms