Large-scale irregularities — running to over Rs. 650 crore — has been detected in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) across the State in the last five years in an audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The audit report states that the possibility of fraud cannot be ruled out, as about 63.80 lakh individuals identified as ineligible for employment were paid Rs. 617.74 crore between 2008 and 2012. The report was tabled in the legislature on Tuesday.

In another instance, though 3.49 lakh job cards and 8.23 lakh individuals had been deleted permanently between 2008 and 2012, the audit found that wages totalling Rs. 22.48 crore had been disbursed under these cards and Rs. 2.90 crore to individuals whose names had been deleted. In addition, 1.41 lakh individuals, whose names had been permanently deleted between 2008 and 2012, were shown to have worked and wages amounting to Rs. 13.94 crore were paid to them.

Further, the report has highlighted that 39,157 permanently deleted job cards were recreated with some other name as head of the household.

“Deletion of job cards on a large scale is indicative of bogus registration facilitated by lack of transparency in registration that rendered the entire payment process susceptible to leakages and misappropriation,” the audit states.

Not only were cases of muster rolls being tampered with detected, the audit found that as per the MIS data, 15,377 workers in 29 districts had been marked present in more than one muster roll on the same day in 4,672 cases and a payment of Rs. 2.83 crore had been made to them.

In another instance, names found in 40,859 muster roll entries did not correspond to the names in the job cards referred to in the muster roll, but an amount of Rs. 3.68 crore had been paid for four lakh persondays in such cases.

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