After West Bengal, now Telangana is under the radar of the Ministry of Rural Development for non-compliance of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) guidelines. A team from the Ministry after a four-day tour found several issues with the implementation of the MGNREGS.
The inspection team in their report, as per a press note from the Ministry, found that the State was taking up non-permissible work – like constructing food grain drying platforms under the MGNREGS. The State was also not complying with guidelines related to desilting of minor irrigation works. Various projects were broken down into smaller segments, to avoid apporval of the superior technical authority. The team has also pointed out various other procedural violations of the guidelines.
In view of the lapses, the Ministry is now sending another team for “thorough scrutiny”. The team will now cover 15 districts in the State and visit four to six Gram Panchayats in two blocks of the Districts. “The central focus of the team visit is to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Scheme,” the Ministry’s press statement said.
The Ministry has stopped paying MGNREGS wages and their share of funds for material and administrative costs to West Bengal since January this year claiming that the State has not conducted social audits and had rebranded a Central scheme as the State’s own. Despite protests from the State government and the MGNREGS workers. the Centre remains unmoved. The Centre’s dues, meanwhile, are piling up and currently it owes more than ₹7,000 crores to West Bengal.