| Urban development department principal secretary Amrit Lal Meena receives the award from Union rural minister Jairam Ramesh at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, on Sunday. Telegraph picture |
The state government on Sunday received two national awards for implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
Bihar bagged awards for transparency and accountability and sustainable livelihoods through convergence. Principal secretary, urban development department, Amrit Lal Meena received the awards at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, from Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh.
The Centre came up with the idea of such awards during financial year 2012-13. This year awards were to be given under three categories — transparency and accountability; sustainable livelihoods through convergence; and social inclusion.
“Several states sent nominations, of which 15 from Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Maharashtra and Bihar were selected. Finally, Bihar and Sikkim were selected for awards in all categories,” Amrit Lal Meena told The Telegraph.
The Union rural development ministry had set up a seven-member committee led by central administrative tribunal (CAT) president B.K Sinha to study the proposals.
Meena said: “On January 16, 2014, a detailed presentation was made by my team. After complete review, the committee selected Bihar for first prize under transparency and accountability and second prize under sustainable livelihoods through convergence. ”
An elated state rural development minister Nitish Mishra congratulated MGNREGA staff and functionaries. “I still remember when Delhi-based NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) had done the performance audit of MGNREGA in Bihar in 2006-2012. Their report said crores were siphoned off.”
Over the past two-three years, state rural development department undertook several initiatives to improve quality, transparency and social co-operation.
Mishra said: “The committee appreciated initiatives like MGNREGA Divas inspection, social audit, appointment of lokpals, distribution of statements of job, wall paintings, strengthening of gram sabhas, sanction of payments through panchayat executive committee and monthly review notes.”