Govt appoints ombudsman in districts for MGNREGS

Action taken against 336 officials and politicians

Disclosing this to reporters on Thursday, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Jagadish Shettar said ombudsman has been appointed in 17 districts, while appointments will be made to the remaining districts soon.

Besides resolving complaints received from people, the ombudsman is empowered to take up cases suo motu also, he added.

Appointment of ombudsman will help in ensuring transparency and accountability in implementing the scheme. The Union Government had directed all the States to appoint ombudsman in the wake of large number of complaints in MGNREGS implementation. Besides, Shettar said the State Government has decided to set up a vigilance squad in every district to check misuse of the funds. The system of social audit is also being introduced at gram panchayat-level, he added.

The Government had spent Rs 2,569 crore under the scheme in 2009-10. Based on this performance, the Centre has allocated Rs 4,800 crore to the State in 2010-11, he said.
The minister said the Government has taken action against 336 officials and elected representatives for alleged misuse of funds and violation of rule book under the MGNREGS. Criminal cases have been filed against 85 persons, including 24 elected representatives, for the alleged misuse of the funds, he added.

The minister admitted that elected representatives trying to misuse the scheme has been proving to be a big hassle and said the respective political parties should take steps against such politicians. “In most of the cases politicians never come into picture. They use other people as their front. We have had a bad experience in this regard,” he stated.

The Government is contemplating to provide annual funds to gram panchayats based on population instead of the present uniform system of granting funds. While some gram panchayats are small in size, others are big. All of them are getting equal funds, he pointed out.

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