Central teams in Chhattisgarh to probe implementation of rural jobs scheme

Central teams are visiting 15 districts in the State to inspect the MGNREGS works and will submit report on September 1

August 25, 2022 03:46 am | Updated 03:46 am IST - New Delhi:

Representational image of workers under the MGNREGS. File

Representational image of workers under the MGNREGS. File | Photo Credit: K. K. Mustafah

The Union Rural Development Ministry has sent teams to 15 districts of Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh to investigate the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the State.

Recently, the Ministry had carried out a similar exercise with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-ruled Telangana where its inspection teams pointed out many lapses and asked the State government to take the corrective measures.

Since January this year, the Centre has stopped paying MGNREGS wages claiming that West Bengal has not conducted social audits and had rebranded a Central scheme as the State’s own for political gain. 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.

Speaking to The Hindu, Rural Development Ministry secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha said, “The report by National level monitors pointed out several lapses including utilisation of machines, no utility of the infrastructure constructed under the scheme, poor maintenance of the job cards and so on so we felt that there is need for more intensive investigation.” When asked if the lapses are at the same scale as was seen in West Bengal, Mr. Sinha said, that it would be unfair to compare one State with other.

From Wednesday onwards the Central teams will spend three-days in the State visiting four to six panchayats in 15 districts of the State and will be submitting their report on September 1, following which, the State will be asked to send its response.

In July, Central teams had visited Telangana where the inspection teams pointed out that the State has been taking up non-permissible work like constructing food grain drying platforms under the MGNREGS. The State was also not complying with guidelines related to desliting of major irrigation works. Various projects were broken down into smaller segments, to avoid approval of the superior technical authority. The team also pointed out various other procedural violations of the guidelines. Mr. Sinha said that so far, Telangana has not submitted a report on the lapses pointed out by the centre. Failure to comply with the guidelines could lead to withholding of funds like it happened in West Bengal’s case.

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