The CAG has detected large-scale misuse of funds, non-payment of wages, decline in work days, non-compliance with rules in the UPA government’s flagship programme - the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA).
Among non-Congress states, which registered below par performance are, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Despite the NREGA being in force for seven years, the governments of Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh failed to formulate rules for carrying out provisions of it, as of March 2012.
It could be damaging for Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh as the reports says that per rural household employment declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12, as well as a substantial decline in the proportion of works completed in 2011-12. The instances of works abandoned midway or not completed for a significant period is also quite considerable.
“Works of Rs 2,252.43 crore, which were undertaken under the scheme, were not permissible. It was seen that 7,69,575 works amounting to `4,070.76 crore were incomplete even after one to five years. It was also noted that expenditure on works amounting to `6,547.35 crore did not result in creation of durable assets,” the CAG notes.
An analysis of releases made to states for the period April 2007 to March 2012 and poverty data showed that three states - Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh - had 46 per cent of the rural poor in India, but they accounted for only 20 per cent of the total funds released under the scheme.
“This would indicate that the poorest of poor were not fully able to exercise their rights under the MGNREGA,’’ the report said.
The CAG report also indicted that the Rural Development Ministry relaxed all conditionalities to released a whopping Rs 1,960.45 crore in March 2011 to the states, contravening norms of financial accountability.