NREGS: CAG slams Chhatisgarh govt

The BJP government in Chhattisgarh was awarded for excellence by the Union ministry of Rural Development for implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. But the Comptroller and Auditor General has slammed the state government for its poor performance in implementing various aspects of the scheme, reports Ejaz Kaiser.
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Updated on Feb 25, 2009 06:18 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByEjaz Kaiser, Raipur

Though Chhattisgarh received an award for its excellence in implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) from the union rural development ministry, the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on its performance, presents a very different picture.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi presented the award of excellence to Chhattisgarh in New Delhi on February 2 at tje completion of three years of the NREGS.

The CAG report, however, says the state government was able to provide average employment of only 35 days per household in 2007-08. The Act guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to any registered rural household. This has to be provided within 15 days of the demand.

“In many cases, it was not possible to ascertain whether employment was provided within 15 days. It also could not be ensured how many days of employment had been provided”, the report said.

The report adds that 22 public works have been carried out by other implementing agencies without the recommendation or selection by the Gram Sabha or Gram Panchayat.

It says the state government has not devised a system for compiling physical and financial achievements. “There are a large number of deficiencies in preparing muster rolls. There were delays, even up to 326 days, in payment of wages to nearly one lakh members, defeating the very objective of the Act. There were several instances where the wages were paid without signatures or thumb impressions,” says the report.

State officials were not available for comments. Alok Pandey, coordinator of PRIA (Participatory Research In Asia), the organisation acting as facilitator for social audit on NREGS in the state, suspected that the state officials fabricated figures under NREGS to show a better picture. “In a state like Chhattisgarh, where the rural population is 78 per cent, the CAG report is an eye opener”, said Pandey.

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