Heads are set to roll in the Central Employment Guarantee Council, with the ministry of rural development ready with a list of new members in a body that has been criticised for being full of politicians from the ruling party.
A statutory body set up to monitor the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, it might lose 15 of its 20 existing members, all Congress MPs . These members are to be replaced by non-politicians, according to sources.
Existing members include Mani Shankar Aiyar, Renuka Chowdhury, Charan Das Mahant, Sandeep Dikshit, Bhakta Charan Das, Nirmal Khatri, Ranee Narah and Madhusudan Mistry.
A Congress party member expected to be removed said the move was part of Jairam Ramesh’s distrust of MPs and his preference for non-government organisations (NGOs). He wants total NGOisation of the system, said an angry party leader.
But the Council has been a concern not just because of its composition but for the fact that it has been reduced to a defunct body. Activist Nikhil De, who was inducted in the Council only a year before, said it had barely met since then. “It was called once during the time of Vilasrao Deshmukh and just once again in Ramesh’s tenure. The Council is being made defunct, when the law demands it is consulted regularly before decisions are made,'' he said.
Former CEGC member and economist Ashwani Kumar said the CEGC was used to its full potential in 2009, when working groups were set up and nearly 60 organisations across the country were consulted on various issues.