Ramesh disappointed with MNREGA record of four states

New Delhi: On a day the CAG came down heavily on "irregularities" in MNREGA, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday expressed disappointment over poor implementation of the government's flagship scheme in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand which account for bulk of the poor.
 
He admitted that there were irregularities, including corruption and misappropriation funds, in the implementation of the scheme in many states.
 
"As far as overall implementation of MNREGA is concerned, I am disappointed that we are not able to show a higher performance of the scheme in terms of employment and in terms of expenditure in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, which account for the bulk of poor in our country — almost 50 per cent of poverty is in this four states.
 
"And by any logic MNREGA expenditure should have been the maximum in these four states. But today the situation is that the MNREGA expenditure in Andhra Pradesh is more than the combined expenditure in Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand," the Rural Development Minister said.
 
Briefing media on the CAG report on MNREGA here, the Minister alleged that a particular state government was protecting a senior official who has been found guilty of embezzlement of MNREGA funds.
 
He, however, refused to give more details.
 
The minister also downplayed findings in the CAG's report, saying if they fail to find fault, it means they are not doing their work.
 
The CAG conducted the audit of the scheme after the government requested for it, he said. "I don't have any problems with this report. We will take action on the discrepancies pointed out by the report." 
 
Ramesh said a lot of things have happened after the CAG submitted its report.
 
"We have set up a concurrent evaluation office. The concurrent evaluation office will become operational in next two, three weeks and it will be the responsibility of this office to carry out concurrent evaluation," he added.
 
Earlier today, the CAG said "irregularities" were detected and works of over Rs 4,000 crore were lying incomplete while projects undertaken for over Rs 2,000 crore under the rural job scheme were not permissible.
 
The irregularities in MNREGA pertain to diversion of funds, implementation of impermissible works and deficiencies in maintenance of records, the CAG report said.