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CAG picks holes in NREGA projects : Road, bund works only on paper

CAG picks holes in NREGA projects : Road, bund works only on paper
Highlights

More than 50 per cent of works under assets creation were faulty Issuance of bogus job cards by field assistants unearthed Hyderabad: 'The...

  • More than 50 per cent of works under assets creation were faulty
  • Issuance of bogus job cards by field assistants unearthed

Hyderabad: "The very purpose of creation of assets, one of the basic tenets of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Authority (MGNREGA) is getting defeated due to faulty execution of works or namesake works in minor irrigation", observed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its latest report to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly in a day or two.

The Union Government had passed the NREGA Act in 2005 to assure legal guarantee for providing at least 100 days of wage employment to all the rural households whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual labour. The man days have been enhanced to 150 from 100 during 2012-13 and the wage was hiked from Rs 137 to Rs 149 per day from April 1, 2013.

Though the scheme was primarily designed to provide employment in rural areas, certain amendments had been made to it later to include assets creation, road connectivity, strengthening of bunds, buildings for gram panchayats, bund plantation, etc. CAG noticed that just for namesake works were being allowed to be carried out under the scheme, especially de-siltation of water bodies and strengthening of bunds costing crores of rupees. As a result, NREGA funds were being misused and there was no government mechanism to check it.

According to CAG reports that are available with The Hans India, it is observed that more than 50 per cent of works under assets creation were faulty, resulting in loss of NREGA funds. CAG found lacunae in laying gravel roads from one habitation to another in rural areas. These works were allowed in all the districts and metal roads were shown in the books in place of CC roads which had been laid in many rural areas earlier with the State and Central government funds. "Instead of using NREGA funds for laying of roads for proper connectivity, the officials were showing laying of metal roads where cement roads already existed", CAG said in its report.

Bund plantation work was taken up on around 2.5 lakh farmers' lands, owned by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small and marginal farmers. But, the formation of bunds was just for namesake without following a comprehensive system, CAG observed. It was also found that bogus job cards were being created by the field assistants on the names of persons who were not residing in the villages. This sort of malpractices were found in almost all the districts, the report said adding that there was no mechanism to check the misuse resulting in draining of NREGA funds.

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