That the people of Assam—especially those connected in any way with the government—are determined not to work, is perhaps very well illustrated by what is happening to all the schemes taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The MGNREGA schemes got started in Assam in a modest way in 2006-07 as they did in the rest of the country. Assam had taken up 13,310 schemes for the year 2006-07 out of which 767 schemes remained incomplete. This was not a very poor record for a State like Assam, considering the general apathy for work in government undertakings throughout the State. The number of incomplete schemes represents 5.762 per cent of the schemes taken up that year. The following year (2007-08) the number of schemes taken up was 13,521, but the incomplete/ongoing schemes stood at 1,121 (=8.29 per cent). The year after that (2008-09) came as a pleasant surprise, because out of 19,335 schemes taken up, only 310 (=1.603 per cent) remained incomplete. However, the following year (2009-10) not only marked a change for the worse, but also the beginning of a deepening decline. Out of 18,495 projects taken up, 777 (4.201 per cent) remained incomplete. From 2010-11 there was a rapid rise in the number of projects taken up and the number left incomplete. [For the remaining years, the first figure represents the number of projects taken up and the second figure (after the stroke) the number of projects left incomplete.] 2010-11: 21,004/900; 2011-12: 28,584/2,155; 2012-13: 38,073/2,448; 2013-14: 36,585/2,716; 2014-15: 38,680/7,869; 2015-16: 57,310/37,516; 2016-17: 57,739/46,665.
What is significant is that from 2011-12, the number of incomplete projects went into four digits for four successive years and then into five digits in 2015-16 and 2016-17. What is far more significant is the fact that in these two years, the number of incomplete projects were greater than the number of completed projects. In 2015-16, 37,516 (=65.461 per cent) of the 57,310 projects taken up were left incomplete. The next year, things got even worse. As many as 46,665 (80.82 per cent) of the 57,739 schemes taken up were left incomplete. The worst part of the entire scerio is that none of it has happened by accident. Everything that happened was orchestrated to happen. In any sensible administration, the very obvious question that would have been asked after some years of very poor completion of projects and a huge backlog of incomplete projects building up would be: why should we be increasing the number of projects every year despite the failure to complete even 65 or 80 per cent of the projects? The answer to the question too stares us in the face. None of these projects were taken up with human welfare in anyone’s mind. They were taken up with the huge Central grants and the huge amounts that could be siphoned out in mind. It is often said that it is easy to make allegations about corrupt practices but very difficult to prove corruption. This is a fallacious stand. What better proof does one need about corruption than a record that some officer who is uble to ensure the completion of projects undertaken agrees to take over an increasing number of projects every year just because of the funds that can be siphoned out from them?