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In first, Jharkhand gets social audit team to boost NREGA work demand -Abhishek Angad

-The Indian Express

According to officials, this is a big shift in the work demand process—separating demand generating and implementing agencies—and is likely to change the way MGNREGA functions in the state.

In what the Jharkhand government says is the first such move by any state, the Rural Development Ministry has started capturing work demand under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) through its social audit unit (SAU), generating nearly 6 lakh demands for work in around a month since the system began in mid-August.

According to officials, this is a big shift in the work demand process—separating demand generating and implementing agencies—and is likely to change the way MGNREGA functions in the state.

Illustrating how much more work demand has been generated, SAU state coordinator Gurjeet Singh said during the corresponding period in the last three financial years, around 2 lakh person days of work was generated—under MGNREGA, a representative from each household is eligible to get 100 days of work each year. “This has jumped to 5.2 lakh person days (this time) due to the pressure of work demand and receipt, which this new system has evolved,” Singh said.

Work demands were earlier generated through ‘Rozgaar Sewaks’—there is one in each panchayat of the state—who would go village to village and raise awareness about the concept of MGNREGA, get demands for work, sanction the schemes, and finally make the payments.

This was a long and tedious process.

The SAU, under the Rural Development Department, created to “promote transparency and accountability in implementation” of various programmes, has now been made responsible for generating demands for work.

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