Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Job Scam: Minister did not monitor rural jobs scheme: CAG

New Delhi: A review carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), whose report was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, revealed several irregularities in the implementation of the government's rural job guarantee scheme, with total loss on account of such wrongdoings amounting to over Rs 30,000 crore out of an estimated expenditure of Rs 1.50 lakh crore during the five years of audit (2007-12). The auditor, however, refrained from putting a combined figure to all irregularities unlike in its previous reports like those on the allocation of coal blocks or the 2G spectrum licences.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said he had personally asked the CAG to survey the scheme. “I don’t have any problems with this report. We will take action on the discrepancies pointed out it,” he said. However, headded that the CAG report pertained to 2012 after which reforms had been carried out to beef up the audit system—concurrent evaluation would assess the scheme alongside its implementation. Ramesh said it would be better than post-mortem done by audits.

The CAG pointed out irregularities like multiple job cards in the name of one person, jobs cards not issued in thousands of cases though money was spent on them as wages; diversion of Rs 135 crore found on sample case study where the actual diversion could be much higher and hundreds of crores misappropriated through unaccounted expenditure.

The auditor carried out sample checks in over 3,800 gram panchayats in 182 districts of 28 states. The auditor pointed out wastage of funds as works worth Rs 4,000 crore were initiated but not completed and Rs 2,250 crore was spent on works that were not permitted under MGNREGA. It blamed the rural development minister for lack of monitoring. The central employment guarantee council conducted just 13 field visits in six years and did no follow up action despite irregularities being reported from different states.

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