NEW DELHI: It was announced with much fanfare by his predecessor. But Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has ended the scheme with a single line notification.
The scheme in question is the Independent Monitoring by Eminent Citizens for strengthening the implementation of NREGA.
The first Rural Development Minister of UPA-II and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi’s nominee C P Joshi had announced the panel of eminent citizens and it included former IAS and IPS officers, judges of SC and High Courts, established academicians and social activists.
The panel also included retired Ambassadors, retired Vice-Chancellors of Central and State Universities and retired members of the Armed forces above the rank of Brigadier.
Now Jairam, in a one-line notification dated February 14th, has scrapped the scheme.
“It has been decided with the approval of the competent authority to discontinue the scheme,” says the notification without giving any further clarifications on the issue. The 100-odd “eminent citizens” had no clue about the development until they got a copy of the notification by post.
Quite expectedly they are furious. “I got to know that the scheme had been annulled only when I got the letter two days ago. This is arrogance and high-handedness at its extreme,” said Dr M S Kairon, who was assigned the task of monitoring NREGA in Bongaigaon, a district in Assam.
When asked about the possible reasons, Kairon, an agriculture scientist by profession, said that he was clueless.
According to Kairon, what hurts him the most is the fact that Jairam did not show even the basic courtesy to call a meeting and tell them that he is planning to stop the scheme.