CENTRE PICKS HOLES
Sets Deadline For Ombudsmen Appointment, Wants Better Monitoring In JK
Srinagar, Sep 13: Union Rural Development Ministry has set deadline for Jammu and Kashmir government to complete several pending processes aimed at effective execution of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the state.
The appointment of ombudsmen in all districts, setting up of a full-fledged independent social audit directorate to institutionalize regular social audits, appointment of “adequate” State Quality Monitors under the flagship scheme is pending for long time now.
The ministry has categorically asked J&K government to complete the appointment of Ombudsmen in all the districts by not later than October this year, official information accessed by Greater Kashmir reveals.
An Ombudsman has to oversee the rollout of the scheme to prevent corruption and redress grievances under the scheme.
In 2009, the Ministry passed instructions to all state governments to appoint “persons of eminent standing and impeccable integrity with at least 20 years of experience in public administration, law, academics, social work or management” as ombudsmen in each district.
Though the state government started the selection process it was shelved despite around 100 persons including former judges having applied for the positions in 2010.
Over the years complaints like delay in payment of wages, fake job cards, payments made against fake names have been reported under MGNREGS which is in vogue in JK since 2005-06. The scheme aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household.
The Union Ministry has expressed displeasure at state’s delay on setting up of full-fledged social audit directorate.
Greater Kashmir reported earlier that despite Union Minister Jairam Ramesh’s communiqué to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in November 2011, and repeated reminders to the state authorities, the state government has failed to establish the Directorate.
Apparently not satisfied with the monitoring mechanism under MGNREGS in J&K, GoI has stressed upon the State to ensure a “vibrant” quality monitoring system for assets created under the scheme.
It has called for appointment of “adequate” State Quality Monitors for evaluating and inspecting the MGNREGS assets. “Their reports on quality of assets and utility should be made public regularly,” the Ministry has sought. “Further, assets created under MGNREGS could be mapped and photographs be uploaded onto the website for future use.”
An evaluation report of MGNREGS in Kashmir division, exclusively reported by Greater Kashmir, revealed that the program was not yielding the ‘desired results’ of development and assets creation.
The Quality Monitor Report for districts including Islamabad (Anantnag), Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama in Kashmir and Leh and
Kargil in Ladakh highlighted that lack of planning for execution of the projects and synergy among different departments and lack of projection was badly affecting the scheme.
The benefits under the scheme have mostly gone to individuals, small areas like Mohallas and blocks, and not to community in general, the report revealed,
Commissioner Secretary Rural Development Department, Farooq Ahmad Peer said in coming days they would start process for appointment of ombudsmen in 13 districts in first phase. “Some of them will hold additional charge of the remaining districts till vacancies are filled permanently.”
Regarding setting up of the directorate, he said the department last week ordered for appointment of the Director of the body. He said a district coordinator for Baramulla and Jammu were also appointed. The appointment of other districts coordinators and selecting coordinators at block and Panchayat level would be completed in coming months.
He said the department was mulling to engage Kashmir University and Islamic University for evaluating the scheme instead of State Quality Monitors.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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