Drive against bogus job scheme cards

Nagesh Prabhu

Nearly 50 per cent of the works are incomplete

Biometric cards to be issued to check bogus cards

Bangalore: Absence of mechanism to check duplication of job cards and works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act at the gram panchayat level has been a major setback in the implementation of the job scheme.

In the present system, job cards can be kept with anybody and there is no mechanism to prevent their misuse. In many cases, the cards lacked details such as bank account and address. Duplication of jobs cards have been reported from many villages following availability of funds and its potential benefits among the people. Following the existence of a large number of fake job cards in a village in Bangalore South Taluk, the matter has been referred to the Karnataka Lokayukta, according to sources in the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department.

Another major defect in the job scheme is non-completion of works. Nearly 50 per cent of the works remained incomplete in several districts, sources said.

The department has launched a card verification campaign in all 5,626 gram panchyats from April 1 to eliminate duplicate cards. However, the campaign has slowed down for the time being owing to the gram panchayat elections. The National Informatics Centre has been asked to upgrade software to enter details of job seekers and entry of works executed by data entry operators to check bogus cards and duplicate works, sources said.

The Department has decided to introduce smart cards for biometric attendance of job seekers under the scheme. In the first phase, biometric cards would be issued in Gulbarga, Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Dharwad districts to check bogus cards, sources said.

RDPR Minister Jagadish Shettar told The Hindu that the government had decided to request the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to take satellite pictures of the works carried out by panchayats in Tumkur district to assess the quality of works. Action would be initiated against the erring panchayats based on the ISRO reports.

The Union Ministry for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj had proposed to introduce GPS for avoiding duplication of works. With a large amount of money available under the scheme, there were reports of getting money released for duplication works. The scheme would be implemented effectively if all these problems were addressed, officials said.

Mr Shettar said the government was keen on putting an end to the irregularities and tardy pace of development in the gram panchayats under the scheme. The proposal to appoint retired district judges as ombudsmen would be implemented shortly.