JK yet to have Social Audit Directorate for MGNREGS
Government At It, Process Time-Consuming: Secy RDD
Jammu, Sep 2: Jammu and Kashmir is yet to have an independent social audit mechanism under Center’s flagship programme- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)- even almost a year after the Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh sought personal intervention of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in this regard.
However, the state Government has now started the process to hold independent scrutiny of the project in at least 22 blocks - one block in each district on experimental basis - before a full-fledged directorate is created.
Reliable sources told Greater Kashmir that the state Government, despite repeated reminders by the union ministry, has so far not been able to establish an independent Social Audit Directorate to institutionalize regular social audits for timely and effective grievance redress under MNREGA.
The Act has been implemented in the state since 2007 when five districts of Doda, Kupwara, Poonch, (Islamabad) Anantnag and Jammu were notified for coverage under the scheme. However, subsequently in 2008, all districts were covered under the Act.
Sources said that in 2011 Union Rural Development Ministry issued directions to all the state Governments to put in place the ‘social audit system’ so as to enable rural committees to monitor and analyze the “quality, durability and usefulness of MNREGA works as well as mobilize awareness and enforcement of their rights.”
The Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh in his letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on November 17, 2011, copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, sought attention towards the mandatory requirement for constitution of social audit directorate.
Referring to a meeting held with the state functionaries, the minister had desired to establish “an independent organization under the auspices of state Rural Development Department to facilitate conduct of social audit within a month.”
It was also desired that the social audit in Gram Panchayats should be held once in six months. “The summary of the reports should be submitted by the state Government to C&AG, which will be one of the inputs for the audit and the action taken report of the state Government on social audit findings will be placed before the state legislature.”
However, the union ministry, in its latest review has observed that Jammu and Kashmir was yet to set up the independent directorate.
Admitting that the full-fledged directorate was yet to be established, Commissioner Secretary Rural Development Department, Farooq Ahmed Peer, said that the delay was only “due to some technical reasons” but the process in this regard has already been initiated. “It is hectic and time-consuming process, especially when the appointments for the proposed directorate have to be made at the district level,” he said.
He added that the interviews of the eligible candidates have already been completed and the department will be initiating the scrutiny of MNREGA works in all the 22 districts of the state. “For this, one block for each district will be identified and the process will start immediately after the basic infrastructure is put in place,” he said.
He said that the entire exercise will be done in a time-bound manner but “may take some time.” Putting in place the infrastructure for this auditing system is a time-consuming process as the scrutiny has to be done at the panchayat level through Halqa Majlis, he said, adding that around 8000 Halqa Majlis will have to be conducted every year for the purpose and all record, minutes of meetings, decisions, follow-up will have to be maintained by the directorate.
Jammu and Kashmir received Rs 313.60 crore (Central share) under the scheme during 2010-11 and Rs 781 crore during 2011-12.
During the last fiscal, the state had projected to generate 356 lakh man-days but only 178 lakh man-days were generated. This year also the Government has projected to generate more than 400 lakh man-days.
Sources disclosed that this year the state Government has not projected any demand for Srinagar district. “The district has not settled accounts for releases made in the past year (last release was made on April 4, 2011),” sources disclosed.
The union Government has also expressed displeasure over the non-release of the due amount under the state share in Jammu and Kashmir. “As per the information furnished by the state, the total state share released during 2011-12 was Rs 69.05 crore. Assuming that the state maintains 60:40 labour-material ratio, the requisite state share (10%) has not been released,” the review report of the union ministry reads.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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