Jharkhand was the first state to experiment with linking payments for NREGA with Aadhaar, and the workers in the state say it has helped them greatly as they don’t have to walk to the bank anymore and also receive the correct amount owed to them.
A 2015 Supreme Court ruling says that Aadhaar based payments would be voluntary, but activists have pointed out that it’s being imposed on the poor by the government in the state. “When we did not have an Aadhaar card, we never got work. When we used to go ask for work, we were never given any,” 35-year-old Shila Devi from Khunti told NDTV.
The state government maintains that it hasn’t made Aadhaar mandatory for payment of wages but hopes more people would sign up for it.