Ranchi, Sept. 2: Paucity of funds will no longer come in the way of implementing the Centre’s rural job scheme in the state.
A special coffer — Jharkhand State Employment Guarantee Fund — is being created at the level of state headquarters, rules for which were notified by the NREGA commissioner’s office recently.
The coffer will have a total “revolving fund” of Rs 30 crore, which will be available and maintained all the time. One crore each will be at the disposal of the 24 districts while Rs 6 crore will remain with the state for exigencies.
Talking to The Telegraph, state NREGA commissioner Sunil Kumar Burnwal said the entire central fund would first come to the state headquarters from where it would be disbursed to the districts.
Earlier, the money was routed to districts directly, leaving ample scope for irregularities. In the past, two beneficiaries of the job scheme committed suicide over delay in wage payment.
“The new system will help in state-level planning and implementation of job schemes. Deputy commissioners, who are in charge of projects under the NREGA, cannot deny payment to workers or dilly-dally on implementation of new schemes by citing funds problems,” Burnwal said, adding that the process for transfer of funds had already been initiated.
Sources said the rural development secretary and NREGA commissioner would keep account of the money.
Burnwal said the districts would not have to wait for money to execute a particular scheme or pay wages once their earmarked funds is exhausted. “All they need to do is send a requisition and we will release the funds in minimum possible time,” he said.
The rural development department has, meanwhile, started the process for registration of the Jharkhand State Rural Employment Guarantee Council under the society registration act.
The council can function normally under the chairmanship of a chief minister and enjoy overall administrative control of NREGS funds. In the absence of a chief minister, the governor will chair the top council on matters of NREGS. Sources said the council would get a legal entity after the registration. The NREGA commissioner will be the member-secretary.
The rural development department has also decided to conduct public hearing on action-taken reports in six districts that failed to submit the same at the August 31 meeting, held to evaluate social audits. The six districts — Chatra, Giridih, Simdega, Garhwa, Godda and Latehar — also need to organise social audits before preparing the reports.
To make the job scheme foolproof, it has also been decided to conduct state-level evaluation of social audits and action-taken reports every three months.