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Social audit bares job scheme gaps

Ranchi, Feb. 25: Of the 50,000 Jharkhandis who demanded jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), only 4,638 got the mandatory 100 workdays, making the state one of the worst in implementing the Centre’s flagship project.

Results of social audit conducted under Poorest Area Civil Society (PACS) between December 2012 and January 2013 across 49 panchayats of 11 districts exposed a huge gap in demand and supply of jobs under MGNREGS.

The audit, released today at a state-level PACS workshop, revealed over 50,000 people demanded jobs, 30,000 received acknowledgement receipt that entitled them to work, 11,000 got jobs but less than the compulsory 100 workdays and only 4,638 got the full quota of work.

State programme manager of PACS, Johnson Topno said before launching the social audit, they had kicked off a PACS-MGNREGA Campaign in panchayats to generate awareness about Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and its provisions and encourage demand for work.

“It is an ongoing campaign that started in August 2012. The campaign was launched in 300 panchayats of 78 blocks under 12 districts of the state. The social audit, which is still under process, will cover another 51 panchayats by the end of March 2013.,” he said

MGNREGA worker Gurjeet Singh said the PACS campaign generated demand.

“The social audit has exposed existing gaps. We need to plug them. The campaign has yielded good results. Rural people are aware of what to demand and how to make themselves heard,” Singh said.

State MGNREGA commissioner Arun Kumar, present at the workshop, said the state would take steps to promote jobs for women.

“In Jharkhand, women mates were not selected. Gram sabhas have a big role to play in encouraging greater visibility and work for women. We expect transparency and selection of rural women,” he added.