In an effort to ensure timely payment of wages to NREGS workers, the Centre has asked the states to prepare district-wise panels of technical personnel whose expertise could be utilised in preparation of estimates in line with trends of cost escalation in a time-bound manner.
In an advisory to all the state governments, Rural Development Ministry has noted that “inadequate deployment of technical personnel has led to delayed measurement of works and consequent delayed payment of wages to the workers“.
Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, technical personnel engaged in its implementation facilitate estimation and measurement of works, it added.
The ministry suggested that services of such panels of technical personnel may also be utilised for carrying out other technical works as deemed fit by states as per the requirements.
The services of such panels may also be taken for the purpose of undertaking quality audit of the initiatives and to determine realistic estimates prepared for works, it added.
“Such initiatives will not only enhance the quality of assets created under the schemes but would also be effective in ensuring integrity and efficiency in measurement,” the ministry underlined.
It also suggested the states to consider issuing “appropriate directions” to the gram panchayats to immediately report cases of delays in obtaining requisite administrative and financial approvals, releases of the next instalment.
In its advisory, the ministry also asked the states to “optimally” utilise and implement provisions outlined in the operational guidelines (of NREGS) “so that the programme could be efficiently implemented at different levels“.
The ministry noted that the operational guidelines provide for setting up of technical resource network at national as well as state level.
“It also provides for constitution of panels of accredited engineers at the district and block levels who could be utilised in preparation of estimates as well as for measurement of works,” the advisory said.
The operational guidelines further provide for setting up of technical resource systems at the state and district levels to assist in planning, designing, monitoring, evaluation and quality audit of various initiatives, the ministry underlined.