Says no mechanism in place to monitor progress of works
JAMMU, Apr 15: In a major embarrassment for the PDP-BJP Coalition Govern-ment, the State Accountability Commission (SAC) has put a big question mark on the implementation of around Rs 1800 crore worth Centrally Sponsored Schemes in rural development sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, while observing that no mechanism is in place to constantly monitor progress of works under these schemes, the Commission has sought seven-point information along with the proof from the Commissioner/ Secretary of the Rural Development Department within a period of four weeks before passing further orders in the matter.
Reliable sources in the Rural Development Department told EXCELSIOR that in compliance to the previous orders, the Administrative Secretary of the department was supposed to appear before the Full Bench of the State Accountability Commission comprising Chairperson Justice B A Khan and Members Justice J P Singh and Justice Bashir A Kirmani.
However, on behalf of the Commissioner/ Secretary, Additional Secretary of the Rural Development Department caused appearance before the Commission few days back and explained the position in respect of six Centrally Sponsored Schemes being executed by the department.
These schemes are MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (G), Swachh Bharat Mission (G), National Rural Livelihood Mission, Integrated Watershed Management Programme and Rurban Mission.
As per the sources, the Additional Secretary apprised the Commission that under MGNREGA budget of Rs 1400 crore was allocated for 2017-18 and job cards were supplied to 12 lakh households, who have also been asked to open their bank accounts for receiving the monetary benefits.
The SAC was further informed that under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) an amount of Rs 123 crore was allocated during 2017-18 and survey for identifying the beneficiaries was conducted by the Government of India under which 18,000 people were identified. Out of the allocated budget, an amount of Rs 68 crore was spent and remaining Rs 55 crore were lying in PFMS account. However, the Additional Secretary could not furnish the figures vis-à-vis work done under this scheme till ending March 2018.
As far as Swachh Bharat Mission is concerned, the SAC was informed that an amount of Rs 165 crore was allocated for 2017-18 out of which an amount of Rs 116 crore was spent. With regard to integrated Watershed Management Programme it was informed that an amount of Rs 44 crore was allocated out of which Rs 33.96 crore was spent.
However, it was submitted before the SAC that under National Rural Livelihood Mission no budget was provided by the Central Government and the Rural Development Department was only acting as a facilitator in creating the Self Help Groups. Shockingly, he could not furnish details about the number of groups created.
As far as Rurban Mission is concerned, the SAC was informed that an amount of Rs 15 crore was allocated for 2017-18 and so far three projects have been conceived under this scheme in which Rs 15 crore have to be spent.
However, the Full Commission found that much of the claims made by the Government were not based on the actual physical verification of the work done under these schemes, sources said, adding “the Commission has found information provided by the Additional Secretary short of the requirement and only drawn from the record of the Rural Development Department”.
“It is not known whether the funds have been spent on the schemes and whether the works were executed on the ground”, the SAC said while seeking seven point information along with the proof from the Commissioner/ Secretary of the Rural Development Department within a period of four weeks.
The Commission has sought record of the surveys conducted to identify beneficiaries under these six schemes; details of the amount spent under each scheme identifying the beneficiaries and the locations; proof of the job cards supplied and the amount transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts under each scheme; proof of the demand made under MGNREGA scheme by the beneficiaries from different areas of the State; whether any supervisory/monitoring mechanism was set up by the Rural Development Department to conduct any physical verification of the works under these schemes, if any, the particulars of such supervisory body; list of the Ombudsman appointed in 22 districts with all their particulars to enable the SAC to summon them and obtain record on physical execution of various works under these schemes and details of the Social Audit Unit to be set up along with the details of its operations and reports along with the personnel comprising such Social Audit Unit.
Stating that Government should set up a supervisory mechanism of its own to report progress of the execution of the works on weekly/monthly basis, the SAC said, “in case of default the Commission may set up its own mechanism to find out and ascertain the execution of the works on ground and whether the benefit of these schemes has flown to the beneficiaries”.
In this way, the Commission has put a big question mark on the implementation of six major Centrally Sponsored Schemes in the rural development sector in Jammu and Kashmir and created major embarrassment for the Government, sources remarked.
It is pertinent to mention here that the SAC started the process of ascertaining the status of the implementation of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes in rural development sector in the wake of vide spread reports of non-implementation or shoddy implementation of these schemes in the State.