GUWAHATI: The people of rural Assam are going to elect their representatives under the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) that have been plagued with corruption.
Soon after the announcement of rural poll schedule in the State, all parties put the blame on the Congress that ruled the State for 15 years in a row for the current state of affairs of the PRI. What is glaringly visible is decentralization of power under the PRI – one of the most important objectives of the village raj – is far from becoming a reality in the State. However, the moot question is: has the system been brought back on track under the BJP-led coalition government in the State?
Corruption and inaction have their sad refection in various reports of the CAG on rural Assam for the year ended on March 31, 2017. Examples galore! Avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 22.55 lakh was incurred by Kamrup ZP due to non-deduction of ten per cent contractor’s profit in the estimate for the work executed departmentally.
In another example under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) under which one-time benefit is given to the next of kin of primary bread-earners lying under BPL. It has been found that under DRDA, Karbi Anglong, Cachar ZP, Kamrup ZP ans Nagaon ZP massive anomalies were detected by the CAG. A sum of Rs 9.92 crore was bisbursed to 5,729 beneficiaries without proper verification.
Nagaon ZP had to incur a loss of Rs 1.01 crore due to settlement of markets/hats/beels at lower bids value ignoring the highest bidders. On the other hand, Sonitpur ZP incurred revenue loss amounting to Rs 43.85 lakh by not registering lease deed of markets/fisheries etc. According to P&RD officials, the reasons behind such anomalies are inadequate mechanism for identification of beneficiaries, non-contribution of State shares in some of the schemes, lack of monitoring and evaluation etc.
Will the party or parties going to get good grip on the PRI in the State after the poll do all that are needed to bring a wholesome change in the system?
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