Report paints grim picture of works under MGNREGA in J&K

Pallavi Sareen. Dated: 7/10/2018 1:10:38 PM

86% works complete but 37% construction quality rated good

JAMMU, Jul 9: A survey carried out by statistics department of Jammu and Kashmir has painted a very grim picture of the works undertaken under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme across the state.
J&K statistics department finds 63 percent verified works under MGNREGA either average or below standard. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) in Jammu and Kashmir, only 37 percent of overall construction is considered good.
The report mentions that the quality of construction was put on a scale and only 37 percent were rated good while 57 percent were of average quality. 6 percent of verified works were declared below standard. The evaluators said that the situation warrants that labour material ratio under MGNREGA must undergo a realistic revision in view of huge price escalation in material costs.
They added that the supervisory system of the scheme must be strengthened to pave way for the creation of durable and quality assets for ultimate well being of the rural poor.
The evaluation report that was prepared by Department of Economics and Statistics of Jammu and Kashmir discovered that among the verified works 86 percent were complete and 14 percent were incomplete. As far as specifications were concerned, 85 percent were coinciding with official documents while 15 percent were found deficient.
Not only was quality compromised, the percentage of works in Jammu and Kashmir completed during the financial year 2015-16 was only 2 percent while 49476 works, backlog from 2012-13 and earlier, were also incomplete. Further, the performance analysis points out that only 19 percent person days have been generated. Up to 28-10-2015, only 20.88 lakh person days have been generated against the projection of 113.68 lakhs till October 2015.
The Government of India has stressed upon the need to scale up works related to Natural Resource Management, Individual Household Latrines and creation of Individual Assets in order to fulfil the objective of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchaye Yojana (PMKSY), Swachh Bharat Mission and strengthening livelihood resource base of rural poor. Further, the State Government has also been asked to strengthen coordination and convergence with various line departments for better results and review the implementation of State Convergence Plan.
Maintaining that timely payment of wages is critical to the success of the programme, performance analysis shows that during the current financial year, 69 percent of total transactions were delayed for more than 15 days. Out of this, 44 percent of the payments were delayed for more than 60 days. Stressing that efforts should be stepped up to ensure more works related to agriculture and allied sectors, the central government has pointed out that expenditure on such works during the year 2014-15 and 2015-16 was below the statutory limits of 60 percent of total spending.
A survey found out that adjustments were made regarding person days offered and payments made in the Job Cards taking the Job Card holders into confidence. These adjustments were inevitable as remuneration to labourers under MGNREGA at current wage rate was not possible. From enquired beneficiaries, 98 percent beneficiaries were stated to have been provided wage employment within 15 days of application for work. 2 percent stated that the time limit of 15 days was not adhered to in their favour during 2011-12. No unemployment allowance was paid in their favour which had become due to them as per scheme norms.
A survey found out that beneficiaries had availed 66050 person days against the maximum Job potential of 195800 days available as guaranteed right under the scheme. On an average, every Job Card Holder household had availed only 34 days against 100 days available for them. This simply means that only 34% benefit of the scheme was derived in the enquired villages both in terms of wages and assets creation. While interacting with beneficiaries, their job cards were also scrutinized with reference to Job days offered and wages received.
In the surveyed villages, 55 percent beneficiaries stated to have received wages within a week or the fortnight. The remaining 45 percent reported otherwise and majority of them had reportedly received wages after 30-60 days the work was done. This evidently was a clear violation of norms and needs immediate attention of the Implementing Department, says the evaluation report. It maintains that the worksite facilities reflected that these provisions of the Act/Scheme were mostly confined to papers only. Not a single creche was provided in any of the worksites in the sample villages inspite of the fact that maximum women participation was reported.
Enquired beneficiaries expressed satisfaction over their engagement in MGNREGA, registration process, transparency and ensured payments. However, satisfaction on worksite facilities and timely payments was observed low. The payments were also not provided within week/fortnight in sizeable number of cases which had amply been reflected in the low satisfaction level of beneficiaries on this very parameter. The implementing department must evolve all possible measures to ensure that the weak implementing aspects of the scheme are corrected by appropriate action on the ground. It would, among other things, require intensive supervision and monitoring of programme plus effective coordination with other involved agencies.



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