NGP: State government makes itself a laughing stock - The New Indian Express

NGP: State government makes itself a laughing stock

Published: 09th September 2013 10:55 AM

Last Updated: 09th September 2013 10:55 AM

Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP), the flagship recognition system under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), has turned into a comedy of sorts in the State. An audit report has shown that Odisha Government has been recommending GPs for the award without bothering to care about the eligibility criteria.

The result: Close to 73 per cent of the recommendations have been rejected by the Centre.

Bizarre as it may sound, majority of the State’s recommendations have been consigned to the dustbin by the Centre in last three years. Of 569 applications which were submitted to Department of Drinking Water Supply, a whopping 73 per cent were turned down.

An audit of the NGP has brought to fore how the applications were made without proper verification by the districts as well as State level authorities which meant assessment made by the Centre through independent agencies found loopholes in most of them leading to their disqualification. Despite its applications being turned down, the Odisha Government kept sending more with the same flaws, leading to more rejection.

In 2009-10, out of 63 applications, 43 were disqualified. Next year, the State sent 234 applications of which 153 were found inadequate and declared disqualified. During 2011-12, as many as 270 applications were filed. Of them, 222 were disqualified.

As per the norms, to be eligible for NGP, all households in the village (or panchayati raj institution) must have access to individual toilets or community complexes.

All government, private, aided and unaided schools and anganwadi centres must have functional and clean toilets and urinals. There should be complete elimination of open defecation in the PRI area and nobody, including the floating population, must defecate in open while child faeces have to be disposed of in toilets. Besides, PRI must have adopted a resolution in the gram sabha to ban open defecation and impose penalty.

Basing on these parameters, PRIs are to submit application in a prescribed format which needs to be verified at district level before being sent to State Government for recommendation of the award. The application is then verified by inter-district committees or a State-level scrutiny committee before it is uploaded online for recommendation.

The audit, however, found that applications were not properly checked at the district level as the Collectors did not take adequate care to ensure that the recommendations meet the prescribed criteria.

Similarly, the Internal Scrutiny Committee, the Odisha State Water and Sanitation Mission (OSWSM) and the State level Scrutiny Committee also did not check the applications and the factual positions before giving their consent.

As a result, DDWS’ survey by independent agencies and cross-verification by teams from various States found that most of the applications did not meet the parameters and hence were disqualified.

The report found that the process of scrutiny of applications as well as physical verification of sites at DWSM level, internal verification by OSWSM and the SLSC were not proper and seemed perfunctory.

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