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Solving unemployment? Even job creation in Assam tainted by graft

Two probes underway to get to the bottom of irregularities in Employment Generation Mission during Congress rule, reveals minister Chandra Mohan Patowary in Assembly

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 8: Unemployment has long been a chronic problem for Assam, blighting its youth and stoking the fires of militancy. But now it transpires that corruption has eaten into government efforts to create jobs in the State. Not surprisingly, an employment scandal too marked the scam-ridden rule of the earlier Congress regime in the State, as revealed in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The Employment Generation Mission was set up in the State in 2007 for generating jobs, as the me suggests. However, massive fincial irregularities derailed the mission. With the CAG detecting fincial irregularities in the mission, the BJP-led State government last year had to order an inquiry by vigilance and anti-corruption wing of Assam Police into the alleged anomalies based on the CAG report. The inquiry is underway.

All these facts came to the fore when State Industries and Skill Development Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary was replying to a question raised by BJP legislator rayan Deka about massive anomalies in the employment generation mission.

Admitting the findings by CAG, Patowary informed the House that an inquiry is going on into the allegations and CAG findings.

The CAG report says that from fiscal 2006-07 to fiscal 2009-10, Rs 50 crore was released to the mission on condition that the amount had to be used by March 2010, failing which the funds would go back to the Centre. However, by December 2011, the mission could spend only Rs 23.79 crore, and the remaining amount was left unspent. By March 2010, the mission submitted its utilization certificate (UC) to the Centre for Rs 18.84 crore. However, the CAG found during audit that only Rs 16.88 crore was actually spent i.e. the mission submitted fictitious UCs of Rs 1.96 crore. The mission deposited the unspent amount in banks and earned uuthorized interest ‘by going against the spirit’.

The CAG also detected a number of unfruitful expenses. According to its report, the employment generation mission was set up in 2007 with a view to generating 1.67 lakh jobs in the State with a total capital outlay of Rs 669 crore – Rs 360 crore by the State government and Rs 309 crore by ‘farmer/banker’ to generate jobs.  

Earlier on July 14, 2016, one Bhaskar Talukdar lodged a complaint against, what he said, large-scale anomalies in the mission. He alleged that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was also involved in the anomalies. That prompted the incoming BJP-led State government to set up an interl inquiry team. Thus two inquiries are underway to get to the bottom of the employment scam.

About the author

Ankur Kalita