Once bitten by multi-crore scam, the MP agriculture department is now twice shy.
In a bid to bring in more transparency in its schemes, after a Rs90-crore scam was unearthed on Tuesday, the department has decided to put major schemes online.
“We will be developing (an) online system for most of the schemes and make the whole system transparent to avoid any possibilities of corruption,” Rajesh Rajora, principal secretary, agriculture department told Hindustan Times.
The department has decided to overhaul the complete system and administrative machinery after the scam surfaced, he said.
According to sources, most of the schemes launched by the agriculture department were running on papers till now.
Field officials mostly did not bother to do field visits, an inquiry report submitted to the agriculture department indicated.
The report also said that beneficiaries for most of the schemes would be shortlisted through online lottery and all its terms and conditions would be displayed at the department’s portal.
Once a farmer was selected through online lottery, a text message would be sent to his mobile phone, after which he could complete the required formalities.
Huge amount of bungling was reported in the ‘crop demonstration’ scheme, one of the 20 popular schemes of the agriculture department.
An overall budget of about Rs 200 crore was allotted for this scheme.
“This scheme failed only because of an absence of a transparent method for selection of farmers and earmarking of plot for the demonstration,” a source in the department said. The scheme will now go online from this year.
The principal secretary on Wednesday also said that the department would now carry out physical verifications of beneficiaries of various schemes to check the extent of malpractice.
“Officials of agriculture department will not be a part of the inquiry team anymore,” he said. Rajora added that the newly-inducted IAS officials would take the inquiry further.
Complete overhaul likely
The department has decided to overhaul the complete system and administrative machinery after the scam surfaced
The probe teams found financial irregularities in 20-odd agriculture schemes, including the sprinkler scheme, pipeline and dripset scheme, and Beejgram Scheme.
They pointed out huge discrepancies in the accounts that did not tally with other registers of the department
The size of the scam might grow once reports from other districts pour in by July 15.