Poorest unable to exercise rights under NREGA, says CAG

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The poorest of poor are not able to exercise their rights under the job guarantee act and irregularities have been noticed in works under the government’s ambitious scheme, a CAG report tabled in parliament Tuesday said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report said that widespread instances of non-payment and delayed payment of wages have been noticed in 23 states under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

It said that “the per rural household employment declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12. There was also a substantial decline in the proportion of works completed in 2011-12”.

It said that instances of works abandoned midway or not completed for a significant period were noticed.

“Works of Rs.2,252.43 crore, which were undertaken under the scheme, were not permissible. It was seen that 7,69,575 works amounting to Rs.4,070.76 crore were incomplete even after one to five years. It was also noted that expenditure on works amounting to Rs.6,547.35 crore did not result in creation of durable assets,” the report said.

The report said that an analysis of releases made to states for the period April 2007 to March 2012 and poverty data showed that three states Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh had 46 per cent of the rural poor in India but accounted for only 20 percent of the total funds released under the scheme.

“This would indicate that the poorest of poor were not fully able to exercise their rights under NREGA,” the report said.

It said that correlation between poverty levels and implementation of the scheme was not very high.

The scheme provides for 100 days of wage employment to every rural household willing to take up manual labour.

The performance audit by the CAG was taken up in response to a request from the ministry of rural development and covered the period from April 2007 to March 2012.

Implementation of the scheme was checked in 3,848 panchayats in 28 states and four Union Territories.

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