In a bid to crackdown on complaints of laxity and irregularities under MGNREGA, the state government has come up with ‘report cards’ of districts, ranking them on the basis of their performance in implementing the job scheme.
The rural development department has launched monthly progress report cards for all districts, ranking them on 13 parameters — person days generated against labour budget, number of households which completed 100 days employment, timely wage payment, work completion rate, utilisation of material component, administrative expenditure etc.
The ranking covers work done by collectors, chief executive officers and executive engineers at the district level and block development officers, assistant engineers and junior engineers (JEN) at the block level.
In the progress report issued from April to September 2014, Hanumangarh district has been ranked first among 33 districts while Karauli last. Jaipur stands at 25th position.
The idea of such report cards is to put in place a monitoring system so that all employees are alert and there is a sense of competition among districts so they improve their overall performance.
“It is a challenge to measure work of so many employees. We want the money to be spent judiciously on creation of useful assets. We hope this will be a successful initiative,” says MGNREGA commissioner Dr Samit Sharma.
The report cards, combined with video conferences by Sharma holds up a mirror to the officials.
“Officials from those districts that have performed poorly have to explain reasons and give a future plan of action,” says Sharma.
Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), which has been opposing downsizing of the MGNREGA, welcomes the idea.
“Ranking is a great idea. It will bring transparency and allow people to see who has performed better.”
However, he said social audit must be built into the ranking too. “It is a glaring omission. Social audit must be added to the parameters and given a lot of weight.”
The previous Congress government had given responsibility to MKSS as an independent third party but it was stopped due to political pressure.
“It needs a lot of seasonal agricultural labourer. Big landlords and farmers were against MGNREGA from the beginning. There are 600-700 brick kilns which were also against the scheme. These interests were politically dominant,” he said in an e-mail reply.
Dey said it was no surprise that Hanumangarh had topped. “Hanumangarh is not a MGNREGA district but they have done some great work in cleaning and improving the canal irrigation system. This just shown that when one wants to administer, they can.”