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Bihar Cabinet Approves Unemployment Allowance for MGNREGA Workers and Other Key Measures

By Alok Mohit

Patna: In its first meeting after the Lok Sabha elections, the Bihar cabinet, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, approved 25 key agendas on Friday. Among the significant decisions was the introduction of an unemployment allowance scheme for workers registered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) who remain jobless.

The Bihar Unemployment Allowance Rules 2024 were approved, ensuring that workers who do not find work within 15 days of applying under MGNREGA will receive financial support. This allowance will be one-fourth of the minimum wage for the first 30 days and half of the minimum wage thereafter, providing basic income support to the rural unemployed.

Additionally, the cabinet sanctioned Rs 774 crore to clear pending honorariums for around 30,000 ‘Shiksha Sevaks’ and ‘Talimi Markaz,’ who help integrate children from marginalized communities into formal education. This fund will address payments that have been overdue for several months.

To promote transparency and streamline access to important documents, the cabinet decided to digitize and make available online all historical judicial orders, land records, maps, and other crucial revenue documents. This initiative aims to enhance public access and accountability.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to determine the seniority of Bihar Finance Service officers based on merit lists prepared by the Bihar Public Service Commission, ensuring a fair and transparent promotion process within the state’s finance services.

In an effort to improve healthcare infrastructure, the government sanctioned 247 new positions to support 22 Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) schools and six General Nurse Midwife (GNM) training schools. Furthermore, the creation of four additional factory inspector positions and four deputy chief factory inspector positions was approved within the Bihar Labour Service Technical cadre.

To modernize its fleet, the government decided to scrap all government vehicles older than 15 years. These vehicles, owned by various departments and offices, will not be re-registered.

The cabinet also revised house rent allowance (HRA) rates for state employees. Employees in X-category cities like Delhi and Mumbai will now receive 30% of their basic salary as HRA. Those in Y-category cities like Patna will get 20% (up from 16%), in Z-category cities 10% (up from 8%), and in uncategorized cities 7.5% (up from 6%).

Finally, the Bihar Contingency Fund has been temporarily increased from Rs 350 crore to Rs 10,000 crore for the financial year 2024-25, effective until March 30, 2025.

The author is a senior journalist based in Patna 


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