First-time audit finds chinks in MNREGA implementation


By: ML Verma

Shimla (Apr 11): The first-time audit into Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) implementation in Himachal Pradesh, has found significant areas of deficiencies, having eight paragraphs marked in the civil report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) released on April 8 in the state Assembly.

The CAG pointed out that there were deficiencies in planning process, particularly in preparation of five-year district perspective plans (DPPS). It highlighted that to reduce the financial ‘leakage’ and to promote transparency and accuracy in fund management, practice of monthly squaring of accounts was not introduced at any level.

It questions how the state failed to take up works under a scheme at par with priority lists as during 2007-10 nine out of 12 selected blocks irregularly spent Rs 19.9 crore on work not permissible under the Act or separately notified by the government of India.
Exposing tardiness to release funds to MNREGA workers, the report said that Rs 97.45 lakh were paid to workers with delays from 15 to 19 days after the prescribed period of a fortnight.

Highlighting anomalies in the master rolls (MRs) and inspection of works, the report points out that 48 test-checked Gram Panchayats did not bear Unique Identify Numbers (UID No) in maintained Muster Rolls, besides the signatures of inspecting officer(s) in token of having the work inspected were not found recorded in MRs in any of the tested Gram Panchayats. The report found inspection of works under the scheme deficient as the
government failed to designate any state, district quality monitors for ensuring quality audit of works as of June 2010.

The audit further revealed that during 2006-10, the state government generated 612.70 lakh person days of employment by spending Rs 1039.63 crore, benefiting 4.97 lakh rural households in the state. Accomplishing a major objective of the scheme, the report noted that employment provided to women was satisfactory despite significant areas of deficiencies.

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