Even as Chief Minister N Rangasamy is finding fault with the Union government for the non-release of greater funds to the Union Territory, the Puducherry government had not been able to avail of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), the flagship scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development, due to its own lapse.
The MNREGA scheme to provide 100 days of work to rural poor has gone slack in the Union Territory with the government departments including the departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and PWD failing to respond to the scheme under its revised guidelines.
This came to the fore at a review meeting of flagship programmes by Chief Secretary M Sathiavathy recently. These departments are yet to come up with proposals to avail of funds under the scheme, which is fully funded by government of India. Once the proposals are submitted to GOI, sanction of funds could be obtained for execution of the work detailed in the proposal. The Government of India (GOI ) could release Rs 8 crore to Rs 20 crore to Puducherry, as earmarked by the Ministry of Rural Development for Puducherry, once proposals are submitted, Project Director DRDA A S P S Ravi Prakash said at the meeting.
Through the revised guidelines, the scope of the scheme had been increased with additional category of work included under the scheme, but these departments had not capitalised on it. Besides work pertaining to desilting of lakes and tanks, tree plantation, land upgradation and other work including construction of cattle shed in individual lands, renovation of fish ponds, sheds for vermi composting could be taken up under the new guidelines.
So far Rs 4.84 cr had been received till October 2012 from earlier proposals submitted, Ravi Prakash said. After the additional guidelines under MNREGS were communicated by GOI, a meeting was held by the Rural Development Secretary and all the departments and corporations associated with the implementation of the scheme in Puducherry and they were informed about the additional guidelines and to accordingly submit proposal for sanction and execution.
With no response from departments, Chief Secretary instructed PD (DRDA) to convene a meeting of the Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries to work out individual proposals.
The DRDA has spent around Rs 11 crore that includes Rs 7.9 crore available with DRDA from last year’s sanction for implementation of the scheme. Around 80,000 job cards have been provided to people registered with DRDA in the UT. In the current year around 15,000 people have been provided with 50 man-days work approximately.