eFMS launched to arrest MGNREGS funds pilferage

The Union government’s initiative to arrest pilferage of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) - the electronic fund management system (eFMS) - was launched in the State on Wednesday.

The system was inaugurated by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Jagadish Shettar, at Nelamangala here. 

The new system facilitates online transfer of funds directly to the accounts of the beneficiaries. Karnataka is one of the four pilot states chosen for the initiative in the country.

First in seven districts

Speaking at the launch, he said the system would initially be introduced in seven districts and then extended to all the districts by the end of October.

“The measure will usher in transparency. We have also introduced video recording of works, third party inspections and ombudsmen to monitor the projects,” he said.

The eFMS software has been developed by National Informatics Centre and the State nodal bank will be State Bank of Mysore (SBM). Beneficiaries will need to open accounts in any of the banks having the Core Banking System. Money will be transferred in real time and SBM will assist job card holders to open accounts in all banks where Core Banking System is available.

The Minister said the measures were important as several cases of misappropriation in the implementation of MGNREGS had been detected in 2009-10.

Shettar said the State had already spent Rs 1,350 crore out of the Rs 2,000 crore received under MGNREGS and promised that more measures would be taken to prevent misuse of funds.

Shettar said Gram Panchayats would be allocated more funds in the coming budget. At present, each Gram Panchayat gets Rs 8 lakh and this may be increased to Rs 9 lakh, Rs 12 lakh or Rs 15 lakh depending on its population.

Taluk Panchayats may also get lucky with their allocation of Rs 1 crore likely to be doubled in the coming budget, he added.

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