Central inquiry says Gujarat illegally diverted NREGA funds

Gujarat Govt illegally diverted NREGA funds for its departmental works, a probe by the Union Ministry of Rural Development has found.

New Delhi: Gujarat Government illegally
diverted NREGA funds for its departmental works, a probe by
the Union Ministry of Rural Development has found.
Sources in the ministry said, "It was established (in
a probe by the Ministry) that the funds were diverted (by the
state government) from Mahatma Gandhi NREGA to the Department
of Forest for their own departmental works."

The probe team of the Ministry found that there was no
official directive at any level for diversion of NREGA funds
for the activities undertaken by the Gujarat government in
contravention with the provisions of the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), they added.

Rural Development Minister C P Joshi had ordered an
inquiry in this connection last month on a report alleging
that Gujarat government was diverting NREGA funds to
facilitate making of anicuts in the state while the work was
not approved by the gram sabha as required under the Act.

Constituting a three-member team of the Ministry to
conduct an inquiry into the report, Joshi also directed them
to look into other issues including inspection of job cards,
muster rolls, cash books, employment registers and other
related documents and the entire process adopted by the state
government in implementation of NREGA.

The team found that though job cards were distributed
to all rural households, there were discrepancies in the entry
of the name of job card holders and their corresponding

"None of the job cards inspected was found to have
shown the entry of work allocation and payment made to the
respected workers," sources said.

In most of the cases, job cards of workers were found
in possession of Sarpanch or Patwaris.
"In Dachka gram panchayat, cash book inspected shown
hardly any entry after financial year 2007-08. There was no
mention of ongoing works in the records. There was no entry in
the employment register," sources said.

Records inspected in Dachka showed that there was no
system to record demand for employment either at the level of
gram panchayat or at the level of Taluka, they said.

The probe team, headed by a joint secretary rank
officer of the Ministry, noted that manner of conducting
social audit under NREGA was not satisfactory in the state.
A number of workers at a work site in the state
submitted written complaints before the probe team alleging
that they were on work for more than five weeks under NREGA
but no wage had yet been paid to them, sources said.

The probe team also found that the manner of execution
of work under the rural employment guarantee scheme was not
satisfactory "from the perspective of work itself and process
of planning,", they added.


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