Sunday, July 21, 2013

Assam sees drop in spending on MGNREGA in last four fiscals; down 13% in FY'13

GUWAHATI: The government's spending on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme in Assam has been declining continuously in the last four fiscals and it dropped by 13 per cent during 2012-13.

According to official documents, the total expenditure, including both the Centre and the state's shares, in Assam on
MGNREGA during 2012-13 stood at Rs 651.55 crore.

However, the same was Rs 748.44 crore during the previous financial year.

The spending on this ambitious rural employment generation scheme has been falling since 2009-10.

As per the documents, Assam witnessed a total spending of Rs 1,033.52 crore on MGNREGA scheme in 2009-10. It declined to Rs 921.04 crore in the following fiscal.

These figures in the state government records are arrived at after taking into account all the 27 districts.

The figures also said an unskilled labourer is paid a daily wage of Rs 152 at present.

However, as per the official website of the MGNREGA 2005, the average daily wage paid to each labourer during 2012-13 was Rs 136.

Last week, the
Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had flayed the Assam government in its report for financial irregularities and anomalies in issuing job cards, among others.

CAG report for 2011-12, which was tabled in the Assam Assembly, said, "There were instances of non/short as well as delayed release of both central and state share in addition to cases of gross financial irregularities. Funds were also not utilised optimally, properly and promptly affecting the implementation of the scheme."

It further said there was not effective and transparent process to register the households and there were deficiencies in maintaining and issuing the job cards.

"One possible reason to generate excess job cards was to get more funds from the Centre as labour budget is prepared on the basis of number of job card holders," CAG said.

Besides, wages at revised rate were also not paid top a large number of workers, it added.

"There was shortfall in providing 100 days of annual employment to a large section of targeted rural community besides non-payment of various entitled allowances/ compensations, thereby frustrating the primary objective of ensuring livelihood security of the rural population," the report for 2011-12 said.

According to CAG, the state government spent Rs 4,060.48 crore during 2007-12 against an available fund of Rs 4,152.54 crore.

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