CAG dents Cong claims on rural scheme

CAG dents Cong claims on rural scheme

An audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General has dented the ruling Congress’ tall claims about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The audit reveals a significant decline in job creation under the United Progressive Alliance Government’s flagship programme to provide livelihood security to poor households in villages across the country.

The CAG’s performance audit on the MGNREGS also revealed that a total expenditure of Rs 6,547.35 crore had been made under the scheme for works that did not result in creation of durable assets.

Altogether, 7,69,575 works worth Rs 4,070.76 crore remained incomplete even after one to five years passed since they had been launched under the scheme. Besides, works worth Rs 2,252.43 crore were undertaken although they were not permissible under the scheme. 

The Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act seeks to ensure at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household which has adult members willing to do unskilled manual work. But the CAG audit revealed that the employment generated by the scheme per rural household dropped from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the National Advisory Council headed by her played a key role in drafting the MGNREGA, which was passed by Parliament in September 2005.

The ruling party has since been projecting it as a legislation that brought about a paradigm shift in the government’s approach to ensure livelihood security to poor millions in the villages.

But the CAG found that Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, which together account for 46 per cent of the rural poor, utilised only about 20 per cent of the total funds released by the Union government under the scheme.

“This would indicate that the poorest of poor were not fully able to exercise their rights under the MGNREGA,” observed the CAG, which conducted the audit at the request of the Ministry of Rural Development.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, however, sought to pass the buck to the Ministry of Finance and said that the “complicated” process of fund allocation was responsible for poor implementation of the scheme in some states.

“We have created a complicated system of funds release. I have sympathy with many states. Frankly, these are imposed on us by the finance ministry,” he told journalists soon after the CAG’s report on MGNREGS was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

Disaster management termed inept

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, has slammed apex body National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for failing to create a national architecture for tackling calamities despite coming into existence six years ago, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

In CAG’s performance audit report, the home ministry also drew flak for its lackadaisical attitude. The Union home secretary headed National Executive Committee (NEC), constituted in 2006 for giving a national map on disaster management, met only thrice in the last seven years.

The NEC, which also has 14 Secretaries and Chief of Integrated Defence Staff as members, ignored a guideline that the panel was supposed to meet at least once in three months. 

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