(NEWS) Little work done on job scheme

(NEWS) Little work done on job scheme

Only 40% of sanctioned funds used; just a fraction of those who got job cards were employed

Lucknow, December 20: While the State Government may take credit for doling out unemployment allowances, it seems to have taken little initiative in ensuring proper implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Almost a year after the Centre launched the scheme (on February 5 this year), it is yet to take off properly in most districts of Uttar Pradesh.

At the first review meeting of the State Employment Guarantee Council on November 2, the rural development department produced dismal results. Only a fraction of the sanctioned funds were spent in most districts. Moreover, very few of the labourers who were issued job cards actually managed to get any work.

Overall, the State has managed to utilise just 40 per cent of the total funds of Rs 77,10,294. While 33,64,041 job cards were issued, only 19,14,803 people got work.

Consider this:
Of the 22 districts where NREGS was implemented, Gorakhpur fared the worst with barely 25 per cent of the total funds of Rs 2,73,553 being used.
In Sonebhadra, where the scheme was initiated to curb Naxalism, only 28 per cent of the total funds of Rs 4,32,718 was spent.
The neighbouring district of Mirzapur, barely 27 per cent of the total funds of Rs 3,91,657 was utilised.

In Banda, one of the State’s poorest districts in the Bundelkhand region, 1,03,082 job cards were issued, but only 35,737 people were given any work. Here too, only 26 per cent of the total funds were used.

In Gorakhpur too, the number of job cards distributed was 1,24,936, while the number of labourers who got work was just 37,900.
Even in Barabanki, where the utilisation of funds was as high as 63 per cent — the highest in the State, the number of people who got work was just 72,801 against the 2,71,600 job cards issued.

Dr Neelam Singh, president of the Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Action Network (UPVAN) — an organisation which is surveying and creating awareness about NREGS, said: “Many times, the pradhans keep the job cards with them to show that they have been issued.”

Singh added: “Disbursement of funds and lack of awareness are the two major reasons for such a poor response to this scheme. The gram pradhans or district-level officials are not even aware about the tasks that can be given to people under NREGS.”

Courtesy: www.expressindia.com