Koda passes job plan buck to Munda
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- Published 24.05.07
|Madhu Koda (right) at the meeting in Ranchi. Picture by Prashant Mitra|
Ranchi, May 24: His predecessors never took the employment guarantee scheme seriously, complained chief minister Madhu Koda while defending his government’s track record.
National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, fully funded by the Centre, has been in existence for two and a half years, said Koda, but the implementation was dismal till December last year, he agreed.
But since then, he declared, there has been a dramatic improvement and over 24 lakh families have been given job cards and over 14 lakh families have been given work ranging from 37 to 45 days. A minimum of 100 days’ employment every year is guaranteed by NREG.
The chief minister conceded that there is still “lack of awareness” but deputy commissioners have been directed to launch special drives through training camps and workshops.
Koda also conceded that barring Ranchi and East Singhbhum, the implementation in other districts have left much to be desired, specially in districts like Koderma, Giridih and Palamau. But if the situation does not improve soon, he promised, officials would be taken to task.
While informing that the state government has raised the old age pension from Rs 200 to Rs 400 per month, Koda declared that 73,000 new beneficiaries would receive the pension.
The physically challenged in the state too will receive stipends, he announced, and identification of the beneficiaries will be completed by June 30.
The government also plans to complete the selection process of NGOs for setting up old age homes, schools for the physically challenged by the end of July.
NREG central council members, noted activists Aruna Roy and Jean Dreze among others, apprised the chief minister of the findings of the social audit conducted in the state between May 14 and 21 by 300 volunteers in 15 panchayats.
The volunteers noted lapses in selection of schemes and irregularities in paying wages, delayed payment, improper maintenance of records, staff shortage and low-level of supervision. Errant officials too are not being taken to task.
Absence of panchayati raj institutions in the state, they said, is the main impediment for implementing the scheme.