Social audit goes for a toss of NREG scheme at rural areas in Telangana

Social audit goes for a toss of NREG scheme at rural areas in Telangana
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Highlights

The aim of the social audit is to see that the funds being spent on the NREGS reach the beneficiaries and they should not be misused.

Hyderabad: The incidents of misappropriation of MGNREGS funds are said to be rampant as the staff ignore the socials audit of the programme providing employment in rural areas.

The staff of MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) has to conduct social audit with the help of experts and find out any misappropriation of funds allocated under the scheme.

They are supposed to hold Gram Sabhas for audit and discuss the results in the Praja Darbar at the mandal level. The action on the errant staff would be decided in the Praja Darbar. Surprisingly, the Praja Darbars are held before the conduct of the Gram Sabhas.

This has been giving scope to prevent action on the staff who are involved in the misappropriation of funds. The public representatives have been bringing pressure on the Rural Development department officials to complete the Praja Darbars without conducting the Gram Sabhas.

The MGNREG scheme rules mandate social audit every year. The audit should be done for at least two times in the villages.

Out of the 8,700 Gram Panchayats where social audit has to be conducted, about 4,137 GPs have conducted SA once in a year. Only 57 GPs have gone for the audit for twice in the year.

Though the number of GPs has been raised to 12,700, the new Gram Panchayats have to be given authority to take up NREGS works in their areas. With this, the scheme is implemented on the basis of old GPs.

At present, the social audit for the works being done from 2016-17 to 2018-19 are being conducted.

Under the social audit, the staff has to visit homes of the job card holders and verify whether the information being recorded in the registers are correct or not.

The audit staff has to find out whether the works being recorded in the registers were done or not and if the works are not done on the ground and they have been shown on the papers, action should be taken on the responsible persons.

The intention of the social audit is to see that the funds being spent on the NREGS reach the beneficiaries and they should not be misused. However, with no sincerity in the NREG staff, the social audit has become a farce.

According to the reports reaching the Rural Development department, misuse has been noted in about works worth Rs 98 crore in this financial year. Action has been taken in about 61 per cent of the cases.

The Rural Development officials are not insisting on recovery of the misused funds with the pressures being brought by the public representatives on them.

In most of the mandals, the Praja Darbars are not being held to take action on the staff involved in the misuse of funds though the current financial year would end in a month's time.

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