MPs too not showing interest in analyzing ground situation
JAMMU, June 14: The PDP-BJP Coalition Govern-ment’s concern for ensuring accountability in the implementation of various schemes in the rural development sector has remained confined to the official statements only as State level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee has met only once during the past nearly two years.
Even the Members of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir are also not showing any interest in analyzing the ground situation despite the fact that they being members of this committee have key role to play in ensuring that schemes are implemented in accordance with the guidelines and their benefits flow to the rural poor in full measure.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that vide Government Order No.910-GAD of 2016 dated August 16, 2016 State level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee headed by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj was constituted to supervise, exercise vigilance and monitor the implementation of programmes of the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former Chief Minister of the State Ghulam Nabi Azad, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, Thupstan Chhewang, Jugal Kishore Sharma (all MPs), M Y Bhat, R S Pathania, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Deldan Namgyal and Kamal Verma (all MLAs), Administrative Secretary of Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj were made members of the committee.
The committee was assigned the task of monitoring the flow of funds through various channels including allocations, releases, utilization and unspent balances; take all necessary measures to ensure that programme benefits flow to the rural poor; ensure that the schemes are implemented in accordance with the guidelines and look into complaints received in respect of the implementation of programmes including complaints of misappropriation/ diversion of funds and recommend follow-up actions.
Considering evaluation reports, area officers’ reports and National Rural Livelihood Mission reports and taking necessary follow-up action and corrective measure wherever required was also made part of the terms of reference of the committee.
However, this platform has not been utilized to achieve these objectives and this can be gauged from the fact that committee has met only once ever since its formulation in August 2016, sources said while disclosing that in its maiden meeting held on November 29, 2016, Chairman (Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister of the State) had described the committee as an effective platform to ensure accountability in the implementation of schemes.
“It seems that Chairman has himself forgotten the importance of this platform otherwise he would have ensured periodic meetings of the committee to achieve the intended objectives”, sources said, adding “the non-seriousness on the part of Chairman is notwithstanding the fact that several members of this committee particularly Members of the Legislative Assembly approached him a number of times during the past nearly two years with the request to convene meetings after regular intervals for monitoring the implementation of the schemes”.
They further said, “non-seriousness on the part of Government has made it clear that concern for masses in rural areas has remained confined to the official statements only”, adding “even the MPs, who are the members of this committee, are equally responsible for rendering the vital committee defunct as it was imperative on their part to take initiative for regular meetings of the committee”.
Since the committee has the mandate to monitor implementation of programmes of the Union Ministry of Rural Development the role of MPs was more important than any other member as while analyzing the ground situation they would have been in a position to ascertain bottlenecks and highlight the same in the Parliament for corrective measures, sources remarked.
As no meeting of the committee has been convened since November 2016, even follow-up action taken by the officers on the decisions taken in the maiden meeting could not be assessed, sources said while disclosing that in the maiden meeting certain directions were issued to the officers responsible for implementation of programmes of the Union Rural Development Ministry.
When contacted, some members of the committee confirmed that no efforts have been made to effectively utilize this platform for implementation of schemes as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Rural Development.