MGNREGA will soon acquire a high-tech edge for keeping an eagle eye on millions of its projects – thus weeding out any possibility of corruption.
Under the MGNREGA– Geographic Information System, the ministry of rural development plans to plot millions of projects on a Google-like base map, with actual photographs of works – initiated, under construction and completed – from the location.
The initiative, planned as a web portal within nrega.nic.in, would let any person assess the progress of projects through updated photos that crop up on the map of the village concerned. Relative information such as project cost, labour wages and time taken for completion would also show up on the website.
The project – estimated to cost up to Rs. 250 crore – covers 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, the local units of NREGA administration, with boundaries of revenue villages demarcated with natural features and habitations.
A pilot of NREGA-GIS is operational in Gujarat, UP and West Bengal. The portal is expected to be launched in three months. The ministry is trying to choose between Google Maps and Bhuvan, the satellite imagery of the National Remote Sensing Centre for the base map, on which geo-stamped photographs of the assets would be superimposed.
Incomplete and ghost works happen to be a major drawback of the right to work scheme, launched on February 2, 2006. As much as Rs. 30, 000 crore is spent annually on labour wages and materials, but lakhs of unfinished works are defeating the vital objective of asset creation for rural economy uplift.