Nitish Kumar led Bihar government today slammed embezzlement charges in National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) funds in the state. Calling the report technically incorrect and politically motivated, the state government also named slew of measures, it introduced, to enhance transparency in this centrally sponsored scheme.
Few days ago, a Delhi based NGO, Centre for Environment and Food Security, accused the implementing authorities of embezzling almost Rs 6,000 crores of NREGS funds between 2006-07 and 2011-12. However, the state government today not only questioned the method of survey but also called the NGO a politically motivated one. “The NGO has conducted surveys in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and now Bihar,” Nitish Mishra, Rural Development Minister of the state said in the state assembly, “These all are opposition ruled states. Why this organisation has never done any survey in those states, where UPA is in power? This shows the tendency of the NGO.”
He also raised many questions on the method of the survey. He said, “Nobody knows about this agency and where in Delhi this situated. This NGO claims to have done survey in 10 districts and among 2,500 jobcard holders. First of all, this is a very small base for conducting a survey in a state, where there are 13 million jobcard holders. Secondly, they did not give any reason about why this NGO chose these 10 districts in particular. It also did not take into account of material figure, which was very important for this survey. A survey can be based on assumptions.”
He also named several steps the state government has taken to improve transparency in this scheme. The minister stated, “We have never said that the scheme is foolproof in state. The important thing is that we are trying very hard to improve transparency. We have computerized the whole system of data entry for this scheme. We have also uploaded every data about this scheme on internet. We are now contemplating about providing computerized statements to beneficiaries of this scheme.”
The contract has been put on hold and further payments have been stopped
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