Centre set to rid rural job plan of corruption taint
Following criticism that crores of rupees are spent on lining the pockets of corrupt functionaries involved in the MG-NREGA scheme, the Centre has decided to make its flagship project a model of financial prudence.delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2012 01:39 IST
Following criticism that crores of rupees are spent on lining the pockets of corrupt functionaries involved in the MG-NREGA scheme, the Centre has decided to make its flagship project a model of financial prudence.
From this year, CAG-empanelled chartered accountants of each district would visit the villages to audit the NREGA scheme, taking into account minute details such as job cards, projects being taken up, muster rolls, bank passbooks, and payments made to workers. This would help them assess the performance of gram panchayats (GPs).
Certification of the CAs on utilisation of funds at the GP and district-level and action-taken reports submitted by the state government on discrepancies observed in the audit would be necessary for the states – and, in turn, the panchayats – to further avail of funds under the scheme. To begin with, 10% of the GPs in every state would be audited in 2012-13.
GPs are also required to maintain a monthly allotment and utilisation watch register, showing date-wise information on allotment of funds, expenditure, and availability of balance.
The new framework, which was adopted at a meeting between minister of rural development Jairam Ramesh and the CAG in April, entails strengthening the machinery to tackle corruption at the field-level.
“After the enactment of the social audit rules last year, this is the second initiative being taken to enforce transparency and accountability at the gram panchayat level with regard to MG-NREGA expenditure,” Ramesh told HT. The move is important, Ramesh says, because each GP obtains anywhere between R15-20 lakh every year under NREGA. Panchayats are a major stakeholder in the programme, with at least 50% of the projects being implemented through them.The government receives thousands of complaints every year. Most of the cases at panchayat level have village functionaries tweaking rules, creating ghost workers and denying benefits to the rural poor under the right-to-work programme.