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Bihar cabinet approves allowance for jobless MGNREGA workers

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By Alok Mohit

Patna: In the first cabinet meeting after the Lok Sabha elections, the Bihar cabinet on Friday approved 25 agendas, including the introduction of an unemployment allowance scheme for workers registered under MGNREGA but not engaged. The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also cleared several crucial decisions aimed at enhancing transparency and streamlining administrative processes across the state.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, additional chief secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) S Siddharth said the cabinet granted approval to the Bihar Unemployment Allowance Rules 2024, paving way for an ‘unemployment allowance’ scheme for workers who do not find work within 15 days after applying for jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This allowance would be at least one-fourth of the minimum wage for the first 30 days and half of the minimum wage, thereafter, ensuring a basic income support for the unemployed rural workforce, he said.

The additional chief secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) said the meeting approved Rs 774 crore to clear the pending honorarium of around 30,000 ‘Shiksha Sevaks’ and ‘Talimi Markaz’, who connect children in the age group of 6 to 14 from Mahadalit, minorities and the extremely backward communities to formal school education. Around 30,000 ‘Shiksha Sevaks’ and ‘Talimi Markaz’ would get their honorarium that was pending for the last many months”, he added.

In a move to promote transparency, the cabinet decided to digitise and make available online all old judicial orders, land records, maps, and other crucial revenue-related documents, Siddharth said. This digitisation effort would enable public access to these important documents, fostering accountability and ease of access, the officer added.

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

To enhance the healthcare infrastructure, the government sanctioned 247 new posts to ensure the smooth functioning of 22 old Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) schools and six old General Nurse Midwife (GNM) training schools in the state. It also approved the creation of four additional factory inspector positions and four deputy chief factory inspector positions within the Bihar Labour Service Technical cadre, he added.

The cabinet approved a plan to scrap all government vehicles older than 15 years. Vehicles owned by various departments, boards, corporations, and other offices of the Bihar government that were over 15 years old would not be re-registered, he said.

The government also revised the house rent allowance rates for state employees, he said. “As per the cabinet decision, those posted in X-category cities like Delhi and Mumbai will receive 30% of their basic salary as HRA, while those in Y-category cities like Patna will get 20% (previously 16%). For Z-category cities, employees will receive 10% (previously 8%) of their basic salary as HRA, and those in uncategorised cities will get 7.5% (previously 6%) of their basic salary as HRA,” Siddharth said.

The Bihar Contingency Fund, which currently stood at Rs 350 crore, had been temporarily increased to Rs 10,000 crore for the financial year 2024-25 until March 30, 2025, he added.

(Author Alok Mohit is former senior News Editor of Hindustan Times Patna and Chandigarh editions; can be contacted at



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