By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, February 22: The performance on schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Assam depicts a sad state of affairs, apart from messy money magement.
What official data say is something which is not above suspicion as a large number of schemes that were started under the MGNREGA could not be completed within their respective fiscal. Such inefficient implementation of the schemes got its reflection in the abysmally low rates of completion of schemes and the falling number of working days which job card holders got in the successive fiscal from 2006-07 to fiscal 2012-13. The failure on the part of the state department concerned, Panchayat and Rural Development (P&RD), to submit utilization certificates in a large number of the schemes also suggests that all is not well with the implementation of schemes under the MGNREGA in the state. Such sorry state of affairs only smacks of anomalies in the utilization of funds.
According to official data, 1,812 of the 2,375 flood control schemes started under the MGNREGA in the fiscal 2013-14 could not be completed, 1,323 of the 1,923 small irrigation schemes could not be completed, 22,884 of the 32,203 rural road connectivity schemes could not be completed, 9,072 of the 14,929 development schemes in drought-affected areas could not be completed and 1,785 of the 2,407 water conservation and pumping schemes could not be completed within the fiscal.
The state of affairs was no better in fiscal 2012-13 also. As many as 1,751 of the 2,733 flood-control schemes started in that fiscal remained incomplete, 1,263 of the 2,205 small irrigation schemes started remained incomplete, 21,753 of the 31,768 rural road connectivity schemes remained incomplete, 8,575 of the 12,558 development schemes for drought-affected areas in the state remained incomplete and 2,217 of the 3,215 water conservation and pumping schemes started in that fiscal remained incomplete within the fiscal. The average rate of percentage of completion of MGNREGA schemes in that fiscal was approximately 28.
The poor performance of Assam in MGNREGA scheme implementation is seen not only in implementation of schemes. It has been reflected in other parameters like submission of utilization certificates of the schemes implemented and the number of working days each job card holder got. According to the specifications of the MGNREGA, a job card holder has to get at least 100 working days a year, but in Assam job card holders are not given 100 working days, and what is worst is that the number of average working days for a job card holder is maintaining a descending array since fiscal 2006-07 for which The Sentinel has data.
In the fiscal 2006-07 the average number of working for a job card holder was 72 days, 35 days in fiscal 2007-08, 40 days in fiscal 2008-09, 34 days in fiscal 2009-10, 26 days in fiscal 2010-11, 26 days in 2011-12 and 21 days in fiscal 2012-13.
The average percentages of completion of MGNREGA schemes in the state were 59 per cent in fiscal 2008-09, 56.72 per cent in fiscal 2009-10, 62.10 per cent in fiscal 2010-11, 47.62 per cent in fiscal 2011-12 and approximately 28 per cent in fiscal 2012-13.