CAG report highlights failure of J&K govt in proper implementation of MGNREGA in 2016-17

Jammu: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has highlighted the failure of the previous PDP-BJP government in the proper implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Jammu and Kashmir  during 2016-17, saying long term developmental perspective for all districts could not be ensured due to non-preparation of a prospective plan.

In its report on social, general, economic (Non-PSU) sectors for the year ended March 31, 2017, the CAG said delays in submission of labour budgets led to the late release of funds by the Centre  and delayed payment of wages.

The MGNREGA has the objective of enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual labour.

Un-reconciled closing balances, non-accountal of bank interest of Rs 1.20 crore in the financial statements, delayed release of funds, short-release of state share of Rs 107.08 crore and excess expenditure of Rs 22.85 crore on administrative charges reflected poor financial management which was equivalent to non-generation of 83.78 lakh person days of employment, the CAG said in its report tabled in Parliament last week.

It said no unemployment allowances were paid to the job card holders who demanded jobs but could not be provided. Further, 19 per cent person days employment could be provided to women beneficiaries against the norm of 33 per cent.

The report said the wage payment in 77 per cent cases was not paid within the prescribed time of 15 days and 40 per cent wage payments were made after a delay of more than 90 days.

Execution of works under the Scheme showed weakness. While 14,211 works included in the approved annual action plans were not executed, 2,281 unapproved works were executed which led to unauthorised expenditure of Rs 32.67 crore and revealed improper planning and non-involvement of public representatives before framing the annual action plans, the report said.

It said the non-maintenance of wage material ratio led to excess expenditure of Rs 277.69 crore on material component with consequent non-generation of 1.74 crore person days employment.

Non-accountal and non-utilisation of material worth Rs 0.29 crore procured in excess of requirement has the risk of misappropriation and pilferage. Delay in completion of works taken under 13th Finance Commission in convergence with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and non-maintenance of wage material ratio led to diversion of Rs 1.26 crore, time overrun and cost overrun of Rs 1.13 crore in two blocks, it said.

The CAG report said the non-maintenance of essential data and records regarding inspection of works, job seekers’ details, assets and mismatch in data provided or uploaded on Management Information System revealed poor monitoring.

The department has neither constituted the monitoring committees to monitor the quality of works nor appointed ombudsman to deal with complaints, it said, adding the independent surveys and assessment by audit showed that implementation of the scheme was left with various gaps in terms of achieving wage employment, sectoral target achievements, coverage, awareness and participation.

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