IMPACT: Centre seeks action taken report from Jharkhand on MNREGA anomalies

Ranchi: Ministry of Rural Development has served a letter to Jharkhand government on alleged bungling and irregularities in MNREGA works undertaken in this ongoing fiscal year in light of the concurrent social audit report which exposed severe malpractices.

On January 17, had highlighted the audit report.

On Monday (Jan 24), the centre shot a letter to state MNREGA commissioner Rajeshwari B seeking action on erring officials and asked the state to apprise them with action taken report including FIRs.

The letter was sent by Dharmvir Jha, Director, MGNREGA, under the Union Rural Development Ministry asking the state to send report by February 7 “without fail”.

The audit conducted by the social audit unit of the state rural development department recorded several irregularities in rural job scheme—MNREGA in Jharkhand at a time when the covid-19 pandemic has led to scores of job losses and rural distress.

According to the audit report for 2020-21, barely 25 percent bonafide laborers received work under MGNREGA schemes in the state while majority of the job was done using JCB machines, which is contrary to the rules prescribed under the rural job scheme.The muster rolls too were found to be inappropriate. For example, the muster rolls prepared against 1,59,608 workers but only 40,629 got employment.

Not only this, names of 1787 workers who worked were not included the muster rolls.Jamesh Herenj, convenor of NREGA watch, part of the audit team, had said that they found 85 schemes in which muster rolls (attendance sheets) weren’t even created but work was started.

“In the past too, social audit has found several lapses and fraud of Rs 54 crore was detected but no action has been taken by the government so far,” he said, adding that they have submitted their report to the government and hope that it will take appropriate action.