Special Correspondent

Appeal to Rajasthan Chief Minister

Roy and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan members meet Gehlot

“Follow Andhra Pradesh model in implementing NREGS”

JAIPUR: In the wake of the general feeling that the pro-poor decisions by the United Progressive Alliance government, including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), helped the Congress to do well in the current Lok Sabha elections, the pioneers of the cause, Magsaysay award winner Aruna Roy and her associates in the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), met Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot here on Sunday. They sought further strengthening the job scheme and asked him to carry out certain improvements in the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“The Chief Minister was emphatic on the significance of the NREGA for Rajasthan. He is keen on evolving a corruption free system in its implementation,” Ms. Roy said talking to The Hindu thereafter. “We suggested to him to establish a social audit unit in the State which can periodically look into the functioning of the job scheme and also other departments,” she said. The audits would check corruption and provide an answer to Mr.Gehlot’s concern over the potential for corruption in the scheme, she noted.

The MKSS team, which included Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, told Mr. Gehlot that Rajasthan could follow the Andhra Pradesh model in certain aspects of implementation of the NREGS. “It is interesting to note that Andhra Pradesh had picked up many aspects of Rajasthan’s job scheme and the drought relief works such as the mate system. Now Rajasthan can make use of some of the successful experiments carried out by Andhra Pradesh, including the provision for return of the money involved in corruption cases,” Ms. Roy pointed out.

In the RTI, the activists wanted the Gehlot Government to strengthen the infrastructure by recruiting more personnel to help its smooth implementation.

The Government also could take up a pro-active disclosure campaign for the departments so that people remain informed about the activities and development works even without going through the processes of formally seeking to know about them, they pointed out.

“The Chief Minister’s Office should have a monitoring committee for RTI. There should be also strong action on accountability,” Ms. Roy said.

The social activists said they were happy about the outcome of the present general elections as it would strengthen the “pro-poor” agenda. “The results have strengthened the demand for political accountability,” Ms. Roy observed.