Facing flak from Congress leaders, especially Rahul Gandhi, for misutilisation of central funds meant for NREGA, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday rubbished the charges and claimed that the state has achieved second rank in implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme.
"UP has created a record by spending Rs 5,600 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme till March 20, which is 85 per cent higher than last year. The state has achieved second rank in the country," Principal Secretary (Rural Development) Shri Krishna said.
His rebuttal comes close on the heels of Gandhi, during his recent visit to Amethi, accusing the Mayawati government of failing to properly utilise the funds allocated by the Centre.
"The Congress leader had said last week that the Centre gave packages of several crore rupees to the state under various development schemes, including MNREGS and the Prime Minister Rural Road scheme, but the state government has failed to utilise the fund properly. While people are not getting benefit of these schemes, funds are being siphoned off," he had told a meeting of party workers.
Gandhi had said that though Congress was not in power in UP, the Centre was allocating maximum funds to the state for developmental work compared to other states, but UP was not utilising the amount and "unfortunately" the money was not reaching the real beneficiaries.
On Gandhi's allegations of tardy implementation of the scheme, Shri Krishna said in cases of shortcomings 42 officers were placed under suspension and chargesheet was issued against 69 others.
"Besides action was taken against gram pradhans, village development officers and other departmental officers," he said.
The Principal Secretary said 3196.54 lakh human days were created in the state and job cards were distributed to 1.16 crore people.
"As compared to other states, UP's progress has been very good," he said.
"Last year participation of women was 14 per cent, which increased to 20 per cent this year and participation of SC/STs was 56 per cent," he said.
He also said the state created another record by directly transferring funds to the bank accounts of 52,000 gram panchayats.
"It is the priority of the government to provide better employment opportunities in rural areas and source of income to the people as per its policy of Sarvjan Sukhaya and Sarvjan Hitay," he added.