Govt didn`t prevent NREGS fund diversion: SC

SC pulled up Centre for doing nothing to prevent states` diversion of funds allocated under MGNREGS.

Updated: Dec 13, 2010, 21:17 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the central government for doing nothing to prevent states` diversion of funds allocated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGs).

"This is a very serious issue," the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The court was hearing a petition of NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security.

"You do nothing when the funds are diverted by state governments," the court observed.

"When there is diversion of funds, do you take any action against any state government?" the court asked the central government.

The court`s observation came in the wake of submission by senior counsel Prashant Bhushan that there was corruption in the implementation of the job security scheme.

He told the court that the apex court had also passed an order laying down certain guidelines but most of the states have not followed these.

Chief Justice Kapadia said the petitioner pointed to alleged diversion of funds and lapses in the supply of food grain in lieu of cash payment.

The court asked the central government to give a report on the funds allocated to Orissa under the NREGS.

The court said that it might ask the chief secretary of Orissa to appear in person to answer its queries.

Chief Justice Kapadia said that the court would deal with one state at a time. "We would take drastic action against one state and other states would follow and implement the scheme and things would improve," he said.

The next hearing in the matter is slated for Thursday.

-IANS

Bangalore: Early conviction of persons charged
under the Prevention of Corruption Act can act as a deterrent
to corruption, Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde said.

"It takes as many as eight to 10 years for the trial
under this act to commence in Karnataka," he said speaking on
"Probity in Public Life" during the valedictory function of
the two-day national workshop on "Discipline and Vigilance
Administration in Public Sector Banks" here Monday.

Terming these legal procedures as "outdated", Hegde said
"nobody is interested in bringing about a change in these
procedures".

"If a trial under this act concludes within six months,
the percentage of corruption can come down by 50 per cent.
Quick conviction in such cases can act as a deterrent to
corruption," he said.

Hegde said with the entire activities of banking sector
being in public domain, any misconduct by the employees
whether they are in the management cadre or below can have an
adverse impact on the society.

The bank employees are not only duty bound to help fight
corruption and aiding Ombudsman like the Lokayukta by coming
up with an "in-house mechanism", they themselves must take vow
never to accept bribe, he said.

Hegde called upon persons holding public office to
follow the seven principles of "selflessness, integrity,
objectiveness, accountability, openness and honesty and
leadership".

"There is an urgent need for our generation to be
prepared for the sacrifice that may stem out of non payment of
bribe", Hegde said.

He lamented the lack of value-based education in schools
which led to the young imbibing "all wrong things".

Chairman, State Bank of India OP Bhatt, said "leadership
is not what majority wants but to do what is right".

PTI