SC indicts Orissa, Centre for failure in executing MGNREGA

Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 22:51

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked
both the Union and Orissa governments to explain as to why the
CBI should not be ordered to probe financial irregularities in
implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme in the
eastern state.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia sought the
explanation from the Centre as well as the Orissa government,
indicting both of them for their failure in properly
implementing the legally guaranteed scheme.
"We are constrained to observe that the Union of India
as well as the State of Orissa, prima facie, have failed to
effectively and purposefully implement the provisions of the
(Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee) Act,"
said the bench, which also included justices K S Radhakrishnan
and Swatanter Kumar.

"This has resulted in the deprivation of the entitled
class from getting employment and receiving the allowances due
to them in terms of the statutory guarantees available to them
under the Act," the bench said.

Seeking their response on ordering a CBI probe, it
said, "We call upon both the Union of India and the State
Government to show cause as to why there should not be a
direction to the CBI to investigate this matter in accordance
with law."

Seeking the two governments` replies within three
weeks, the bench also asked them to respond to an additional
12-point questionnaire on various related issues on
implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme.
The court issued the orders on a PIL filed in 2007 by
an NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security alleging
large-scale corruption in the implementation of the MGNREGA
scheme.

Based on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(NREGA) in 2005, the scheme provides for legally-guaranteed
100 days of employment to at least one member of each rural
household.

Seeking to know the yearly break-up of total fund
given to Orissa by the Centre between 2006 and 2010 for
implementation of the scheme, the bench also said, "Orissa has
given to the Central Government the requisite certificate of
utilization".

Seeking to know if "any amount earmarked for any of
the schemes under NREGA has been diverted for any other
purpose," it also asked the two governments to detail the
total number of beneficiaries under the scheme.

It also asked if the two governments have ever
received any complaint relating to financial or other bungling
in implementation of the scheme, and if yes, any authority or
the official has been punished for it.

Seeking to know if the statutory social audits under
the law or the general audit by the Comptroller General of
India has ever been conducted in the utilization of funds, the
court also asked both the governments have properly appointed
various officials at various levels for implementation of the
scheme.

Earlier Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising
had told the court that the centre was in favour of a CBI
probe into the irregularties.

"We want a CBI probe. Our request has gone to the
CBI," she said adding the state governments are reluctant to
implement the guidelines for impelmentaion of the fund.

"We are facing resistance from the state governments.
States are supposed to convert guidelines into rules but they
are not doing this," she said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 22:51

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