National

Corruption, pending payments mar implementation of rural schemes: Parliamentary panel

Local village women labourers are seen at their village road as they are busy in the road repairing works under the NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) in Odisha.

Local village women labourers are seen at their village road as they are busy in the road repairing works under the NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) in Odisha. | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Fake job cards, widespread corruption, late uploading of muster rolls, and huge pending payments for wages and materials are among the issues hampering the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme, apart from insufficient funding, according to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report submitted to the Lok Sabha today. The panel also raised concerns regarding fake beneficiaries for the flagship rural housing scheme, and urged that the pension for senior citizens and widows be raised from the current low levels of ₹200 to ₹500 per month.

“Genuine labourers not getting their dues while money keeps changing hands due to collusion of unscrupulous elements surrounding the implementation of scheme at ground level is a bitter truth of the time,” said the report. “The Committee were informed of the non-availability of actual labourers working in MGNREGA site while on-paper the number of labourers stayed intact and full,” it added.

The Committee said that study visits and observations had shown that “rozgar sevaks are in the habit of filling up kachha muster at the start and go to the Block once a week for online uploading of muster-rolls”. It noted that this practice had “a cascading detrimental effect on the MGNREGA beneficiaries as delay in muster uploading causes delay in the payment of wages”, adding that if the muster-roll is not updated and uploaded within the stipulated time, it could not be backdated, causing a loss in payment.

It noted that the intent of a demand-driven scheme for the marginalised was defeated when pending wages amounted to ₹4,060 crore, while material component payments are pending to the tune of ₹9,000 crore. The panel found it “alarming” that in such a scenario, the budget estimates for the scheme for 2022-23 were reduced from the ₹78,000 crore sought by the Department of Rural Development, to ₹73,000 crore.

With regard to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, the panel said ground-level observations exposed corruption. “The study visits undertaken frequently by the Committee to see the actual implementation of the schemes of Department of Rural Development have time and again revealed a dismal scenario wherein such beneficiaries availing the benefit of assistance through PMAY-G have emerged who are already well off and have built expensive houses, belying their claims of being a genuine beneficiary,” it said.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 3:42:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/corruption-pending-payments-mar-implementation-of-rural-schemes-parliamentary-panel/article65231823.ece