Panel set up to look into fudging of muster rolls in NREGA

NREGA, for which the government has spent over Rs 90,000 crore, is facing complaints.

New Delhi: NREGA, the UPA`s flagship employment scheme for which the government has spent over Rs 90,000 crore, is facing complaints of fudging of attendance registers, prompting the Union Rural Development Ministry to constitute a Working Group to look into it.

The ministry has already set up six such panels to deal with different issues relating to implementation of the programme like planning and execution of works, transparency and accountability and timely payment of wages which involves generally the issue of attendance.

"Of late, the ministry has been receiving complaints of irregularities in daily attendance in muster rolls under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA," the ministry said in an order.

"To contain these complaints and to take corrective
action, it has been decided to constitute a Group to explore
the possibilities of utilising ICT (communication and
information technology), UID and biometrics as well as to
create an innovative model," it said.

The group, to be headed by Additional Secretary and
Financial Advisor of the Rural Development Ministry, has been
directed to submit its report within three weeks.

A total of 1,230 complaints about irregularities in the
implementation of NREGA have so far been brought to the
ministry`s notice since the scheme was first launched in 200
districts in February 2006.

These include complaints about fudging of important
records including application registration record, employment
register and muster rolls, sources said.

"A muster roll is essentially a labour attendance
register. It is also used as a receipt to claim funds from the
programme officer for the payment of wages. Its fudging could
be a principal means for embezzlement of NREGA fund," they

The government has so far spent over Rs 90,260 crore in
the implementation of the programme.

As per figures available with the Ministry, 2.10 crore
households were provided employment under the Act during
2006-07, 3.39 crore during 2007-08, 4.51 crore during 2008-09
and 4.49 crore households in 2009-10 (up to January, 2010).

The average wage paid per persondays was Rs 65 during
2006-07, Rs 75 during 2007-08, Rs 84 during 2008-09 and Rs
88.56 during 2009-10.


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