MNREGS in UP under cloud after fund misuse chargeUpdated: Jan 14, 2020 00:00 IST
LUCKNOW: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in Uttar Pradesh has come under a cloud after an accusation was made about ‘misuse’ of contingency fund meant to pay honorarium to workers (gram rojgar sevaks), considered the backbone of the scheme.
The accusations have come when the state government is making efforts to clear honorarium of about Rs 177.77 crore for the scheme.
Commissioner, rural development department, through a letter dated December 2, 2019 requested the state government to make necessary arrangements to pay the workers’ honorarium in the second supplementary demand of grants placed before the state legislature last month.
“No arrangements, however, have been made to pay the honorarium up to now. We launched a ‘padyatra’ in Varanasi on November 20, 2019 and covered nearly 16 districts to bring the issue into focus,” said Sanjay Dixit, former member, Central Employment Guarantee Council, who in a letter to chief minister Yogi Adityanath, had pointed out serious irregularities in the expenditure made under the administrative head in different districts.
“A sum of Rs 1,50,000 paid for fuel for generator in Barabanki on March 8, 2019. A sum of about Rs 28.70 lakh paid in 12 different heads for wi fi campus in Siddharth Nagar on November 17, 2018. A sum of about Rs 10 lakh paid for computer fax photocopier in Siddharth Nagar on November 6, 2018. A sum of Rs 6,51,000 paid under different heads for vehicle for CDO in Sonebhadra,” were some of the highlights of the expenditure incurred in various districts in past two years, he said.
Dixit said there were nearly 35,000 gram rojgar sevaks and the wages of such workers have been ‘misused’ in many districts and the amount of misuse may exceed Rs 100 crore.
Dixit said a government order (GO), issued on May 26, 2010, clearly mentioned “honorarium of workers will be the first to be cleared from the administrative expenditure head.”
“Yet, the payment of honorarium of the gram rozgar sevaks has remained pending for the past two years,” said Dixit while demanding a high level inquiry into the ‘misuse’ of funds under the administrative head.
Rural development commissioner K Ravindra Naik, when contacted, said there was a provision of using a part of the contingency fund at state, district, block and village panchayat levels. He said no officer in any district should exceed the provisions of the scheme and added that standard operating protocol had been laid under out the provisions of the MNREGA scheme that also provides for action for exceeding ‘expenditure limit’ and ‘misuse’.