MGNREGA a Mess in Jammu and Kashmir: Wages Due, Jobs Deficit
Despite the tall claims of Modi government of providing 2 crore jobs every year, it has come to the fore that a massive Rs 509 crore are pending as due wages for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers in Jammu and Kashmir. An analysis done by NewsClick of the funds for expenditure for the last two financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19, available on the MGNREGA website of the J-K government, has revealed a huge deficit of funds amounting to Rs. 120.36 crore and Rs. 577.74 crore, respectively. As a result of this deficit, the wages due for these two years have been Rs. 41.70 crore and Rs. 509 crore, respectively. All this reveals a very grim picture of the MGNREGA scheme in the state.
|Year||Total Fund Availability (cr.)||Total Expenditure (cr.)||Deficit (cr)||Wages Due (cr)|
This does not end here. Data accessed by NewsClick has also revealed a difference of roughly 10% between jobs demanded and granted in year 2018-19 and 2017-18.
|Year||Jobs Demanded (lakh)||Jobs Granted (lakh)|
Various malpractices have also come to the fore regarding MGNREGA in the state recently. The first and foremost issue that has cropped up is that of corruption which takes place at the level of Panchs, Sarpanchs, Village Level Workers and Block Development Officers, who demand commission for sanctioning the work projects. Substandard construction, fake job cards by contractors, delayed and less wages to the labourers, and less than the required 100 working days (only 57 days in the last two years) are other issues which are hampering the scheme in the state.
A survey in 2018 revealed that only 37% of overall construction in the state could be considered as meeting standards. An assessment report that was prepared by Department of Economics and Statistics found that among the verified works 86% were complete and 14% were incomplete. As far as specifications were concerned, 85% were coinciding with official documents while 15% were found deficient. The report further noted that the percentage of works in Jammu and Kashmir completed during the financial year 2015-16 was only 2%, while 49476 works, including backlog from 2012-13 and earlier, were also incomplete. Further, the performance analysis pointed out that only 19% person days had been generated. Up to October 28, 2015, only 20.88 lakh person days had been generated against the projection of 113.68 lakh till October 2015.
Like in the rest of the country, the MGNREGA scheme was launched in Jammu and Kashmir with an aim to uplift the rural economy by providing employment opportunities to rural men and women which is imperative for the social development. It was also meant to build infrastructure for the agricultural sector in the rural areas in terms of accessible pathways to farmland, drainage and irrigation facilities. However, the scheme has been badly marred by poor implementation, mismanagement and corruption. Surveys carried out by both the government and non-government agencies have revealed how the employment guarantee scheme has proved to be a failure in the state in terms of its implementation with the objectives and targets badly missed.
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