73% of gram panchayats, recommended for Nirmal Gram Puraskar, fail to fulfil criteria

The Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) programme implementation in Odisha seems to be in a mess with preliminary scrutiny pointing out that 73 per cent of total gram panchayats recommended for Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) were rejected on ground of not fulfilling the prescribed criteria.

Besides, joint verification found nine NGP awardee GPs also failed to meet the standards on access to sanitation.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has asked the State government to respond to its preliminary findings on the TSC implementation in the State.

According to draft audit findings, “to give a fillip to the TSC, Government of India had launched NGP in October 2003 in order to recognise the efforts made by panchayati raj institutions and institutions towards ensuring full sanitation coverage in their areas of operation.”

The guideline says to be eligible for the NGP, all household in the PRI area must have access to and all members should be using individual toilets or community complexes, all government, private aided and unaided schools and anganwadis must have functional and clean toilets and urinals, besides there should be complete elimination of open defecation within boundaries of the PRI.

As per process, the PRIs are required to submit applications in the prescribed format. District official in charge of rural sanitation of district should verify the facts contained in the application and on findings the applicant eligible in all respects, forward the application to the State government with certificate to the effect dully recommending the PRI for award.

There are several scrutiny mechanisms to verify the claims from GPs before the Secretary of Rural Development recommending it for the NGP. “The test check of records made available to audit by Chief Engineer of Odisha State Water and Sanitation Mission disclosed that out of 569 GPs recommended by the Rural Development Secretary during 2009 to 2012, 149 GPs were selected for NGP,” the draft report points out.

In other words, 420 out of 569 gram panchayats recommended during 2009-12 were disqualified.

“From the records made available to audit it was found that the applications were not properly checked at district-level the district Collector had not taken adequate care to ensure that GPs recommended by him had actually fulfilled the prescribed criteria. The internal security committee, the OSWSM and the State Level Scrutiny Committee also had not properly scrutinised the applications and the factual positions before recommending the GPs for NGP,” it said. The audit also points out that the GPs awarded with NGPs had not fulfilled criteria. In another finding, the draft audit alleged that orders of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik regarding TSC implementation were not followed by line departments.

  • The CAG asks the State to respond to its findings on the TSC implementation

  • Says applications for Nirmal Gram Puraskar are not properly checked