Editorial: Some seriousness needed
Success or failure of any scheme meant for the development or betterment of the people depends on the audit mechanism that is available to monitor as well as guide the implementation of the scheme.
However, when political considerations determine the applicability of schemes, the they are bound to fail. One such example can be cited of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) in our State.
The state authorities have been throwing to winds all the criteria’s and guidelines that could have ensured a result oriented application of the scheme.
Even the Union Ministries have been demanding an answer from the officials, but the State Government takes it all non-seriously. The scheme is essentially about employment for the rural youth who have little chances of finding employment in big cities and towns and would remain in their rural localities. But they have to be provided with some means of subsistence.
The state government which claims that nearly six lakh youth in the state are jobless could have used the scheme as an option which could have brought some cheers to the unemployed youth. But despite, the Centre’s perusal of providing the data as to the number of youth that have been benefitted by the scheme in the state, the officials have been reluctant to provide the same.
It is not that the scheme has been ill conceived by the central ministry. An important component of the scheme is appointment of Ombudsman who is supposed to monitor the scheme and see whether it proceeds along the given lines.
The programme also stipulates setting up of Social Audit Units. There is non-compliance on both of these pre-requisites. The interview of candidates for Ombudsmen has been made a couple of months ago but selection list has not been issued so far.
The Union Government has pointed out this lacuna and asked for the reason why appointments are not made. The Union Ministry has not released he second installment of assistance for the reason that the report on phase I of the project meaning selection of Ombudsmen has not been conveyed.
It is highly discouraging that despite clear instructions carried in MGNREGA, successive Governments in the state have paid no attention towards the establishing the Directorate of Social Audit despite repeated reminders from the Central Government.
The report of the CAG placed before the Parliament had pointed out non-adherence of some states including J&K to the essentials of the scheme including the establishment of Social Audit Councils.
If the State has not been able to implement these pre-requisites for last ten years when the scheme was floated, we doubt whether it will ever be possible to do it in near future. The essential purpose of establishing Social Audit Units has been to help in ensuring effective monitoring and analyzing the quality, durability and usefulness of the works and keeping this aspect in the mind a provision was kept under MNGREGA for establishment of Social Audit Units under the direct control of a separate Directorate to be called Directorate of Social Audit. As this requirement has not been fulfilled there is little hope that the second installment of financial support will be released to take the scheme forward.