Central inquiry says Gujarat illegally diverted NREGA funds

Sources in the ministry said, "It was established (in a probe by the Ministry) that the funds were diverted (by the state government) from Mahatma Gandhi NREGA to the Department of Forest for their own departmental works."

The probe team of the Ministry found that there was no official directive at any level for diversion of NREGA funds for the activities undertaken by the Gujarat government in contravention with the provisions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), they added.

Rural Development Minister C P Joshi had ordered an inquiry in this connection last month on a report alleging that Gujarat government was diverting NREGA funds to facilitate making of anicuts in the state while the work was not approved by the gram sabha as required under the Act.

Constituting a three-member team of the Ministry to conduct an inquiry into the report, Joshi also directed them to look into other issues including inspection of job cards, muster rolls, cash books, employment registers and other related documents and the entire process adopted by the state government in implementation of NREGA.

The team found that though job cards were distributed to all rural households, there were discrepancies in the entry of the name of job card holders and their corresponding photographs.

"None of the job cards inspected was found to have shown the entry of work allocation and payment made to the respected workers," sources said.In most of the cases, job cards of workers were found in possession of Sarpanch or Patwaris.

"In Dachka gram panchayat, cash book inspected shown hardly any entry after financial year 2007-08. There was no mention of ongoing works in the records. There was no entry in the employment register," sources said.

Records inspected in Dachka showed that there was no system to record demand for employment either at the level of gram panchayat or at the level of Taluka, they said.
The probe team, headed by a joint secretary rank officer of the Ministry, noted that manner of conducting social audit under NREGA was not satisfactory in the state.
A number of workers at a work site in the state submitted written complaints before the probe team alleging that they were on work for more than five weeks under NREGA but no wage had yet been paid to them, sources said.

The probe team also found that the manner of execution of work under the rural employment guarantee scheme was not satisfactory "from the perspective of work itself and process of planning,", they added.

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