HC issues series of directions to ensure proper implementation of MGNREGA scheme

The State should instruct all Collectors to comply with the directions issued by the court within twelve weeks, the court directed

April 22, 2023 11:59 pm | Updated 11:59 pm IST - MADURAI

Taking a serious view of various irregularities in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has issued a series of directions to the State to ensure its proper implementation.

A Division Bench of Justices D. Krishnakumar and L. Victoria Gowri said it was very unfortunate to point out that the court had come across various instances where irregularities had been committed in the implementation of the welfare schemes and serious allegations had been raised against officials over the allotment of works under the MGNREGA scheme.

They said periodical verification should be conducted by Collectors for strict implementation of the guidelines/instructions issued by the Centre and the State, and to ensure that Panchayats strictly adhere to them. Collectors should ensure that people are aware of the scheme’s benefits and publicity should be made through the notice Board of the Panchayat Office concerned.

Collectors should ensure that the instructions/guidelines regarding the implementation of National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) is strictly enforced in all Panchayats. Uploading of the attendance of workers through the NMMS application by taking photographs should be strictly implemented, the court directed.

Collectors should also ensure that wage payments were made through the Aadhaar-Based Payment System for the workers engaged in MGNREGA scheme. Periodical Inspections should be conducted by them or any officers they nominate to ensure that the scheme is implemented properly. If any deviation is noted, appropriate action should be taken against erring officials, the court directed.

Panchayats should give priority for sapling plantation works under the scheme and utilise the services of manpower engaged under the scheme for deepening of wells and other waterbodies in villages. The State should ensure that the overall progress of the scheme is viewable in the public portal ‘NREGAsoft’, created by the Ministry of Rural Development, the court said. Collectors should make arrangements for creation of a separate wing to monitor the scheme and deal with complaints by deputing officers not below the rank of District Revenue Officer. The State should instruct all Collectors to strictly comply with the directions issued by the court within twelve weeks, it added.

The court issued the series of directions while disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by Manikandan of Tenkasi district. He sought a direction to the authorities to take action against the irregularities over the implementation of the scheme in the Vasudevanallur Panchayat Union in Tenkasi district. The court directed the Collector to conduct a detailed inquiry and initiate appropriate action, in case of any irregularity.

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