Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘Misuse’ of NREGA funds by TS and ap

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Centre links Q4 tax devolution to return of ‘diverted’ money

PNS | Hyderabad

At a time when both Telugu states are facing a financial crisis, the Centre’s decision not to release Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds and to ask them to reverse the funds diverted from MGNREGS will deal a big blow to Telangana and AP.

The Union Rural Development Ministry has issued notices to TS and AP governments asking them to return the money meant for MGNREGS programmes which were diverted as that is not permitted.

Citing non-compliance with rules, the Union Rural Development Ministry had deputed teams of officials for an on-the-spot investigation into the quality of MGNREGS implementation and found evidence of serious irregularities.

Sources said that the Centre has reportedly put a condition that unless they release the money the fourth quarter tax devolution will not be released to them.

If the tax devolution is not released, then the states will be in big danger as the government won’t be able to pay even salaries, bills or take up any other programmes.

Highly placed sources said that the states are ready to pay but only if the tax devolution is released. But the Centre is adamant on ensuring that both states release the diverted funds.

Officials are running from pillar to post, pulling all strings hoping that they can get the money first after which they will pay.It may be mentioned here that the Centre had threatened to take action against the State under Section 27 of MNREGA which permits the Centre to stop funds if there are any violations. Invoking this provision, action was taken against the West Bengal government earlier this year.

Officials of both Telugu states are trying to avoid this. Moreover, West Bengal is witnessing labour outmigration due to a lack of MNREGA jobs. The Union Ministry of Rural development inspected 114 districts where funds were diverted.

The Centre released two instalments of tax devolution to State Governments.This helps to strengthen the hands of States in accelerating their capital and development expenditure.
MGNREGS was passed in Parliament on August 23, 2005, and was implemented the next year.

“It aims to enhance rural livelihood security by providing at least 100 days of employment in a financial year to every household,” says its mission statement. The jobs are cleaning canals and drains, tilling, ploughing and clearing weeds.

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