Pointing out several irregularities in the implementation of rural jobs scheme in Odisha, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to address them urgently.
In a letter to Patnaik on Friday, the union minister said he has received 14 complaints pertaining to serious irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in Jajpur, Nuapada, Puri, Keonjhar, Jharusuguda and Sambalpur districts.
Ramesh added his ministry was also awaiting action taken reports from Odisha authorities over 48 complaints received from 12 districts.
"The action taken report is a system that we have adopted for all states and designed to bring greater accountability in the MGNREGA scheme," the minister wrote in the letter, a copy of which is with IANS.
He also pointed out that the participation of women in MGNREGA in the state was very low at around 36%. In states like Rajasthan, the participation rate of women in the rural jobs scheme is over 70%.
Ramesh said that despite clear instructions by the ministry, photographs of works being taken up under the scheme have not been uploaded on the website.
Maintaining that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has carried out a performance audit of MGNREGA in the state and pointed out "serious irregularities", Ramesh in his letter said he hoped the CAG report would receive the chief minister's urgent attention.
Launched in 2006, MGNREGA scheme guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.