K'taka see drastic fall in MGNREGS scheme beneficiaries

Bangalore, Jul 30: The spend on MGNREGS in Karnataka witnessed a drastic fall in the number of households which demanded employment, while the number of completed projects also remained dismally low, a CAG report said today. Karnataka government had been rapped by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in the past for large scale misappropriation and tardy implementation of the scheme meant for rural poor. The latest data for 2011-12 showed that there had been significant decline in the number of households who demanded employment in the last two years. The report tabled on the floor of the Legislative Assembly today said the number of households demanding employment declined from 36.26 lakh in 2009-10 to 16.64 lakh in FY-12. During the same period, the man days generated also declined from 20.04 crore to a mere seven crore. Karnataka government had spent a total of Rs 654 crore provided by the Centre towards the scheme in FY13, which included Rs 416 crore paid to the labourers and Rs 238 crore towards number of material bills produced by the government departments.

"The district perspective plans were not prepared and the Annual Plans prepared by the Gram Panchayats were driven by cost of works than the need to create durable assets," Principal Accountant General D J Bhadra said. Speaking to reporters, he said the spend on completing the works were dismal. It declined from 63 per cent during 2011-12 to a mere 14 per cent during the said period. "So, the focus was on taking up more new works than completing the existing," he said. Davangere district topped the expenditure under the scheme at Rs 83 crore compared to neighbouring Chitradurga in central Karnataka at Rs 76 crore. Gulbarga coming under Hyderabad-Karnataka, which witnessed large misappropriation of funds in the previous years, came next with a spend of Rs 56.56 crore, followed by Bijapur at Rs 46 crore during 2011-12. The report rapped the state government for not preparing the District Perspective plans, while the Annual plans prepared by the Gram Panchayats were driven by the cost of works than the need to create durable assets. "The labour budgets were not prepared on the basis of realistic estimates. The state government had not drawn any information, education or communication plan." Weak financial management of funds was seen in all places," Mr Bhadra said.

 Mr Bhadra said in the report that there were irregularities in issueance of job cards, payment of wages and failure to provide 100 days of employment to all registered households. "The scale of inadequacies in providing livelihood security could not be fully ascertained in view of the deficiencies in record maintenance," he said. It was also not possible to verify the integrity and reliability of the data uploaded in the Management Information System (MIS). Validation of MIS was also absent as there were huge variations in these reports. "There were cases of delayed payment of wages for which no compensation was paid. Unemployment allowance was not paid in cases where work was not provided within 15 days from the date of demand of work," the official said. He said irregularities were also noticed in works executed under the Scheme, which witnessed inadmissible works and those resulting in creation of durable assets. The CAG recommended that surveys should be conducted periodically to identify the beneficiaries and encourage unskilled labourers to register themselves and avail of the benefits. The government should also deploy adequate staff with technical skills at all levels for effective implementation of the scheme. "The state government should ensure prescribed periodical inspection and Social Audits be conducted. Reports should be produced to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the scheme," Mr Bhadra added.

- Agencies

Published On : Jul 30, 2013