Now, PRIs to play crucial role in implementation of MGNREGA

Govt modifies arrangements ahead of setting up of Panchayats

Powers of Panchayats, BDCs, Distt Planning Boards defined

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Nov 10: Now, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) will play crucial role in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) with Government modifying the arrangements and clearly defining the role and powers of Panchayats, Block Development Councils and District Planning and Development Boards.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as Governor’s Administration has already set into motion process to establish Gram Panchayats and thereafter steps will be taken to have other two tiers of the Panchayati Raj System—Block Development Councils and District Planning and Development Board, it was felt imperative to modify the implementation arrangements of MGNREGA and assign necessary powers to three tier Panchayati Raj System well in time.
Accordingly, a proposal was prepared and placed before the State Administrative Council (SAC), which vide Decision No.121/17/2018 dated October 24, 2018 accorded sanction for carrying out necessary modifications in the implementation arrangements under MGNREGA— a social security scheme of the Government of India aimed at providing employment and livelihood to the rural masses.
Now, vide Government Order No.279 dated November 8, 2018, the Secretary to Government, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Sheetal Nanda has notified modified arrangements.
As per the modified implementation arrangements, the annual planning process for the next financial year will start on October 2 every year and the labour budget, shelf of projects and annual action plan will be prepared through conduct of Gram Sabhas for identification and prioritization of works and the entire exercise will be completed by January every year.
Mentioning that the ratio of division of targets between the Panchayat and district would be 80:20, the order said that at the village level the Panchayat will be the principle authority for planning and implementation of the scheme and identify works as per the recommendations of Gram Sabhas.
The Panchayat Secretary will be the Programme Officer at the Panchayat level and the plan allocation shall be indicated to all the Panchayats through the Panchayat Secretary by the District Project Coordinator/ District Development Commiss-ioner in advance”, read the modified implementation arrangements.
At the block level, the Block Development Council will have the powers for consolidation of MGNREGA Annual Action Plan of Halqa Panchayat and forwarding the same to the District Project Coordinator; preparation/implementation of inter Halqa Panchayat Plans; monitoring distribution of job cards to the eligible households; monitoring of works under execution to ensure that the plans are implemented at the Panchayat level in accordance with the guidelines and monitoring of worksite facilities/good governance initiatives, Aadhar seeding, Aadhar based payments at Halqa Panchayat.
At the district level, the District Planning and Development Board will be the principal authority for planning and implementation of the scheme. The District Development Commissioner will be the District Project Coordinator (DPC) and the Assistant Commissioner Development will be Additional District Programme Coordinator (ADPC).
“The ADPC shall ensure adherence to timelines for planning under the scheme at various levels, compile the plan of all the blocks and prepare a district plan for placement before the District Planning and Development Board for approval as per the scheduled timeline mandated under MGNREGA guidelines”, read the order.
The District Convergence Plan shall be prepared at the district level and the DPC shall ensure that maximum works under MGNREGA are taken up in convergence mode. “All at levels of planning priority shall be given to women labourers, vulnerable sections and natural resource management works”, the order said.
The District Social Auditors and Ombudsmen appointed for the district will submit monthly and quarterly reports to the DPCs respectively. Giving more powers to the DPCs, the order said that they shall be responsible for preparation of the district schedule of rates and their revision after every year.
Moreover, the DPCs shall head the committee for managing the human resource issues under MGNREGA with ADDC, Deputy Director/Assistant Director Employment, District Panchayat Officer as members and ADPC as member secretary. The committee shall be responsible for engagement, disengagement, outsourcing and all other issues related to MGNREGA supporting staff.
The hierarchy for APRs for MGNREGA support staff has also been defined under the modified implementation arrangements.