Karnataka Government today said deletion of 10 lakh bogus job cards and stricter implementation of guidelines are the major factors that contributed towards reduced average expenditure under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in Legislative Assembly constituencies in the state.
According to reports, a sum of Rs 12.84 crore was the average amount spent in rural assembly segments in 2009-10 and it declined to Rs 9.11 crore in 2010-11 under the job scheme.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar said the department has eliminated over 10 lakh bogus job cards issued to families in rural parts of the state after close scrutiny by gram panchayat officials.
The number of cards issued declined from 62 lakh in 2009-2010 to 52 lakh in 2010-11.
Further, the government has suspended and booked cases against several officials on charges of fraud in the purchase and distribution of materials under the MNREGA. In fact, six months ago, seven executive officers were suspended in Mandya district alone for indulging in irregularities, Shettar said.
Availability of higher paying jobs in industries, plantations in the Malnad region, and lack of awareness among the rural poor had a telling impact on the execution of the scheme aimed at providing work for 100 days a year to each job seeker, Shettar said.
Noting that the average assembly spending in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Malnad districts was low on account of availability of work in industries and low wages under the job scheme, the Minister said there was no discrimination in the release of funds on party lines to Assembly constituencies.
Funds have been released to gram panchayats according to demand and number of job cards issued, he said.