Another Congress ‘legacy’ unearthed, this time in MGNREGA
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Jan 11: Another corrupt legacy of 15 years of Congress rule in the State has come to light with the detection of widespread anomalies and fund misappropriation in issuing of job cards to employment seekers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the UPA’s flagship scheme. This has prompted the BJP-led government in the State to cancel 1.98 lakh MGNREGA job cards and begin a thorough verification process.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, State Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Naba Kumar Doley said, “After formation of the new government, some allegations regarding issuance of job cards under MGNREGA came to light. It has been found that many job cards issued in someone’s name were being used by some other. Some job cards issued in the names of persons, who passed away, were found to be active for many months afterwards”. He added that verification of such cards are now being conducted and there are chances of more such anomalies coming to light.
“So far 68.48 per cent of job cards issued have been verified and 1.98 lakh job cards have been cancelled,” said Doley.
It may be mentioned that another scam in the issue of bogus ration cards allegedly took place during the previous government’s tenure. The expose led to the then State government instituting a judicial probe.
“In the current financial year, the State has utilized Rs 1,267.16 crore under MGNREGA, which is Rs 638.68 crore more than the previous year,” Doley pointed out.
The minister further informed that total number of man-days generated in 2016-17 is 317.92 lakh, which is 8.99 lakh more than the previous financial year. “In the current financial year, 11.7 lakh rural households have been provided employment under MGNREGA, and 43.89 lakh job cards were issued to employment seekers,” he said.
The MGNREGA aims to enhance livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing minimum 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The Panchayat and Rural Development Minister said the PMAY-G, which is for providing housing facilities to all in the country by 2022, will be launched on January 19. “Under this housing scheme, 1.64 lakh beneficiaries in the State will get houses. Selection of beneficiaries is being done as per the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 data,” said the minister.
Under the IAY, according to the minister, there are presently 1.33 lakh houses in the State which still remain incomplete. The government has given instruction to complete the construction of these incomplete houses under the scheme by March 2017.
Doley also informed that 1,106 posts are currently lying vacant in Panchayat and Rural Development department, and an initiative has been taken to fill up the vacant posts. “Any form of corruption in the department will not be tolerated,” the minister warned.