Hitherto, accounts were in the names of households

To set right irregularities and ensure timely payment of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Sate government has decided to open accounts in banks in the name of women wage earners.

Till now, accounts were opened in the name of households.

Individual accounts of women would be opened in all districts to ensure timely payment of wages. Wage is fixed at Rs. 174 per day in the State for 2013-14.

Nearly 46 per cent of daily wage earners under the scheme are women.

The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj H.K. Patil on the performance of the job scheme in the State on Friday.

Siddaramaiah unhappy

Handing out a sanction letter of Rs. 774.5 crore to Mr. Siddaramaiah, the first instalment for implementing the MGNREGA in 2013-14, Mr. Ramesh said: “We are unhappy with the manner in which the scheme was implemented for the last four or five years. Large-scale diversion of funds, irregularities and incomplete works were part of the scheme.”

The CAG report too reported huge irregularities in the execution of the job scheme, he noted.

The estimated expenditure under the scheme for 2013-14 is Rs. 2,133 crore.

Mr. Ramesh said that the expenditure under the scheme declined from Rs. 1,640 crore in 2011-12 to Rs. 1,440 crore in 2012-13, which was a significant reverse decline. The State had failed to spend Rs. 345 crore. “More than Rs. 1,100 crore is available with the State for taking up works under the scheme.” No more funds would be released till December, he said.

Independent audit

An independent Social Audit Directorate would be set up to audit expenditure incurred by rural local bodies under the scheme.

Under the scheme, small and marginal farmers would be asked to take up more works such as land levelling, irrigation, improving soil and productivity of land.

There were demands to include construction of shelters for sheep, graveyards and anganwadi centres under the scheme. “We are constantly reviewing and considering demands based on merit,” Mr. Ramesh said.

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