Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today shot a letter to Union Minister of Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, drawing his attention to the outstanding dues and timely release of funds under MGNREGS till December 2017.
The Chief Minister said that there is a shortfall of budget provided by the Centre. Patnaik stated Rs 2209.19 crores was supposed to be released by the Government of India to the State Government by the end of December 2017. However, the Centre has released only Rs 1613.62 crores (including pending liability) till date and thus there is a shortfall of Rs 676.57 crores.
He further stated that Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) of Rs 130.53 crores are pending with national electronic fund management system (Ne-FMS) to be credited to the accounts of MGNREGS workers.
As per reports, the State Government has declared 5958 villages under 1097 gram panchayats of 70 blocks in 15 districts as drought affected. The State has ensured that all FTOs are generated on time without any delay.
Patnaik further stated in the letter that the State Government has created a corpus fund of Rs 300 crores to meet any eventuality due to non-availability of fund under Ne-FMS, so that the wage earners get their wages within the stipulated time period.
Since Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has not finalised the modalities for release and recoupment of the corpus fund, the State Government is not able to utilise this fund to meet the exigency, Patnaik added.
Patnaik further stated a request to allow the State Government to utilise the corpus fund had earlier been sent to the MoRD, vide Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water Department on October 16, 2017. In the letter, he reiterated that the modalities for release and recoupment of the fund should be finalised and communicated to the state at the earliest to ensure timely payment of wages.
Alternatively, the letter also suggested that Odisha should be allowed to revert to e-FMS system from Ne-FMS to enable the state government to ensure timely payment of wages utilising the corpus as and when required.
Therefore, Patnaik urged MoRD intervention for release of Rs 676.57 crores to meet the immediate requirement of funds till December 2017 or allow the State government to disburse wage to MGNREGS workers through e-FMS mode out of the corpus fund of State Government subject to reconciliation of the amount on receipt of allocation from the MoRD, Government of India.