Retired State government officials to be appointed as observers

Aimed at bringing in greater scrutiny to works being executed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the State government has decided to appoint 10 third-party State Quality Monitors (SQMs).

To be drawn from retired officials of the State government or Centre, the monitors will have to cover two districts in a month and inspect a minimum of five works. Each of them will be paid a honorarium of Rs. 1,000 per day, apart form travelling allowance.

[As per the Union Rural Development Ministry’s MGNREGA Operational Guidelines 2013, each district is to have a SQM].

Two factors have contributed to the decision of the State government. One, the target of Labour Budget (LB) in terms of cost has crossed the Rs.6000-crore mark this year. It is over Rs. 6,340 crore. Last year, coupled with administrative cost, the LB achieved was Rs. 4,100 crore. Secondly, the authorities have found that there is a gap in ensuring quality monitoring of works in view of more number of works and worksites, despite well laid-out norms for monitoring. Besides, the Central government has been pointing out that the State government does not have a dedicated quality monitoring unit.

Worksite supervisor

Another decision of the State government is to designate one worker as worksite supervisor. According to the norms framed by the government, the supervisors should have studied eighth standard. Differently abled and women will be given preference. In the State, women account for nearly 75 per cent of the MNGNREGS workers. As regards the differently-abled, priority will be given to this category of workers irrespective of qualification. Only in the event of non-availability of eligible women, men could be designated as worksite supervisors. For the purpose of providing training to the supervisors, the government has sanctioned Rs. 11.5 crore.

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