Social audits uncover nearly 4.92L instances of financial misappropriation in MGNREGS funds

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Nearly 4.92 lakh instances of financial misappropriation have come out in the social audits of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds. Southern states including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu account for a large number of such cases.

Data from the Ministry of Rural Development disclosed that all these instances of financial misappropriation involve an amount of Rs 1102.9 crore. The data said Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu top the list of states with 1,59,570 and 1,59,027 cases of financial misappropriation.

AS per the ministry, under Mahatma Gandhi NREGS, it receives complaints of irregularities or corruption and embezzlement including large scale diversion of funds, under-payment or non-payment of wages, lack of transparency etc.

“Since the responsibility of implementation of Mahatma Gandhi NREGS is vested with the state/UT governments, all complaints received in the ministry are forwarded to the concerned state/UT governments for taking appropriate action including investigation, as per law,” the ministry said in a Parliament reply on Tuesday.

“Auditing standards for social audit have been issued and states/UTs have been advised to establish independent Social Audit Units (SAU), conduct social audit as per Audit of Scheme Rules, 2011 and training of village resource persons for conducting social audit. States/UTs have been advised to recruit adequate manpower under SAU to ensure the rigour and quality of social audit,” it said.

Steps have been taken to strengthen transparency and accountability which include geo-tagging of assets, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), National electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS), Aadhar Based Payment System (ABPS), Software for Estimate Calculation Using Rural rates for Employment (SECURE) and establishment of independent social audit units and appointment of Ombudsperson(s) in the states/UTs.

State specific reviews are also undertaken from time to time. Officers of the Ministry and National Level Monitors also visit various districts to oversee the performance of Mahatma Gandhi NREGS.

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