Government to implement all recommendations of CAG to strengthen job scheme
Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) H.K. Patil on Thursday said he has taken several measures to cleanse the administration to ensure proper implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
The entire system is in disarray and the infrastructure has become pathetic, the Minister said.
Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Patil said while the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, placed in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, detected irregularities running to over Rs. 650 crore during the last five years, he had started the corrective process soon after assuming office.
The MNREGA Director had informed him there were over 3.5 lakh ongoing works in the State, while in reality not even 3 per cent of the works were under way, the Minister said.
The cleansing process would include upgrading the directorate for MNREGA to Commissionerate thereby appointing a senior officer and tightening the administration; issuing detailed guidelines as to the implementation of the scheme within a week; electronic fund transfer of the wages to the beneficiary accounts thereby eliminating middlemen; strict action against those involved in swindling of money; and visual recording of execution of works under the scheme before, during and after completion of works, the Minister said. While irregularities and corruption in execution of the scheme are illegal, what has pained him is that the scheme meant to alleviate the poor was made to fail by those involved.
The CAG has made seven recommendations to tighten and strengthen the system and the government is making every effort to implement them, Mr. Patil said.
He had held a meeting of senior officers of the department on Thursday to discuss measures to be taken to prevent recurrence of earlier flaws.
Meanwhile, Mr. Patil urged the Union government to amend the MNREGA guidelines to include works relating to soil and water conservation in agriculture without any discrimination between small and large farmers.
All areas, based on the ridge-to-valley concept, should be brought under the work scope as conservation would benefit society, Mr. Patil said, adding that he has already written to Union RDPR Minister Jairam Ramesh about it.