‘Rural jobs, housing schemes not functioning optimally’


New Delhi : Lack of monitoring and flaws in implementastion in the government’s rural jobs and housing schemes have stymied their potential, a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said Friday.

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“Neither MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) nor the Indira Awaas Yojna are functioning in the way they should. There is poor monitoring of these programmes,” NHRC member Satyabrata Pal said.

Citing a 2011 report, Pal told reporters that the government had spent only half of what was allocated for MGNREGA.

“Out of 56 million household applicants, 55 million were given work. The government spent Rs.2.558 million which amounts to the wages of only 50 days. The scheme guarantees 100-days manual work, not 50,” said Pal.

He said works under the scheme had been reduced to “digging up holes and filling them up again”.

“There are no major constructions under this programme. For instance, out of 40 percent of the total budget earmarked for construction material, 37 percent went nowhere in 2011,” he said.

Pal, a former diplomat, also highlighted loopholes in the implementation of government’s rural housing scheme Indira Awaas Yojna.

“According to the guidelines of the scheme, ‘pucca’ houses must be disaster-resistant and have sanitary toilets. But no house under the scheme has such facility,” he said.

“No one has checked whether these 27 million houses are disaster-resistant. These houses may become death traps,” Pal said.