Right to Work (MG-NREGA)
The first performance audit was undertaken by the CAG in 2007-08. The period of coverage of the first audit was February 2006 to March 2007. The present performance audit of the implementation of MGNREGA was taken up in response to a request from the Ministry of Rural Development and covers the period from April 2007 to March 2012. Implementation of the NREGS was checked in 3,848 gram panchayats in 28 states and 4 UTs.
Key findings of Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on Performance Audit of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Report no.-6 of 2013-Union Government (Ministry of Rural Development), http://saiindia.gov.in/english/home/Our_Products/Audit_Rep
rmance/2013/Civil/Report_6/Report_6.html are as follows:
• Analysis of data related to the performance of the scheme showed that there has been significant decline in per rural household employment generation in the last two years. Per rural household employment, declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12. There was also a substantial decline in the proportion of works completed in 2011-12. Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, which together account for 46 percent of the rural poor, utilized only about 20 percent of the central scheme funds. This indicated that the correlation between poverty levels and implementation of MGNREGA was not very high.
• As per section 16(3) of the Act, gram panchayats were required to prepare the annual development plan on the basis of recommendations of the gram sabha. In 1,201 GPs (31 percent of all test checked GPs) in 11 states and one UT, annual plans were either not prepared, or were prepared in an incomplete manner.
• In 14 states and one UT, 129.22 lakh works amounting to Rs. 1,26,961.11 crore were approved in the annual plans. But only 38.65 lakh works (30 percent of planned works) amounting to Rs. 27,792.13 crore were completed during the audit period, indicating significant inefficiencies in implementation of annual plans.
• In terms of MGNREGA, the states were to notify schemes and rules for its implementation. However, it was seen that despite passage of 7 years, after the Act came into force, state governments of Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (5 states) did not formulate rules, as of March 2012.
• Audit observed that Information, Education and Communication (IEC) plans were not formulated in 12 states and 2 UTs. Shortfalls in utilization of IEC funds were also noticed.
• Governments of 4 states (Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur and Tamil Nadu) had not appointed dedicated Gram Rozgar Sahayaks. Further, persistent and widespread shortages of Gram Rozgar Sahayaks as against the requirements were noticed in the case of nine states (Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Madhya Pradesh Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand). The shortages range from 20 to 93 percent.
• Job cards were not issued to 12,455 households in 6 states. Photographs on job cards represent an important control against fraud and misrepresentation. Photographs on 4.33 lakh job cards were not found pasted in 7 states. Non payment/ under payment of wages of Rs. 36.97 crore were noticed in 14 states. There were several cases of delayed payment of wages without payment of compensation.
• The Ministry relaxed all conditionalities and released a sum of Rs. 1960.45 crore in March 2011 to the states, contravening norms of financial accountability. An amount of Rs. 4,072.99 crore was released by the Ministry between 2008-12 to states for use in the subsequent financial year, in contravention of budgetary provisions and General Financial Rules. Also, excess funds of Rs. 2,374.86 crore were released by the Ministry to 6 states, either due to wrong calculation or without taking note of the balances available with the states.
• Schedule I of the Act prescribes that the material component of the work should not exceed 40 percent of the total work. In 12 states and one UT, cases of material cost exceeding the prescribed ratio were noticed. The material cost exceeded the prescribed level by Rs. 1594.37 crore in the test checked cases.
• In the test checked districts of 25 states/ UTs, 1,02,100 inadmissible works amounting to Rs. 2,252.43 crore were undertaken. These inadmissible works included construction of earthen/ kutcha roads, cement concrete roads, construction of raised platforms for cattle and other animals, construction of bathing ghats etc. Works amounting to Rs. 4,070.76 crore were incomplete despite passage of significant time, rendering the expenditure unfruitful.
• In 10 states and 4 UTs, Government had not constituted Social Audit Units to facilitate the social audit forums. In 11 states and one UT, it was seen that significant fewer social audits from prescribed norms were conducted.
• Monitoring at the Central level was unsatisfactory. The Central Council could not fulfill its statutory mandate of establishing a central evaluation and monitoring system even after 6 years of its existence. The only monitoring activity carried out was in the form of 13 ad hoc field visits to 6 states by the Council members. No follow up action was taken on these visits by the Council.
• Deficiencies, relating to both non-maintenance and incorrect maintenance of prescribed basic records, were noticed in 18 to 54 percent of the all test checked GPs, for various types of records. Widespread deficiencies in the maintenance of records restricted the process of proper verification of the outputs and outcomes of the scheme.
• There were substantial differences between the date uploaded in the MIS and actual records maintained/ information available with Directorate/ DPC. Apart from the erroneous entries made in the database, a number of cases were noticed where the states were not entering data on a regular basis. Hence, the MIS data on physical and financial performance of the scheme was not reliable. In addition, the MIS suffered from faulty programming logic and missing validation controls. Cases of data manipulation, without any reference to basic records and without any apparent basis, were also noticed.