The Congress on Saturday alleged that Rs 935 crore had been misappropriated in MGNREGA schemes over the last four years and said the government must be held accountable for failing to check corruption.
The party also demanded that the government restore the four per cent quota for differently-abled persons in police forces.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said a media report, which assessed publicly available information of the Rural Development Ministry, revealed that Rs 935 crore was misappropriated in schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) over the last four years.
These numbers are the outcome of audits done by social audit units under the Rural Development Department of the Ministry of Rural Development, he told a press conference.
Khera said the significant outcome of the social audit unit was that the primary type of misappropriation in most cases was “financial misappropriation” which includes and is not limited to bribery, payments to non-existent persons and to vendors at inflated procurement prices.
He said of the “whopping” Rs 935 crore misappropriated, only Rs 12.5 crore, which is 1.34% of the misappropriated amount, stands recovered.
The very fact that misappropriations has been happening is a testament to the lack of accountability and due diligence by the Narendra Modi government, the Congress leader alleged.
“The Congress party demands that the government of India is held accountable for the misappropriations in the MNREGA scheme and ensures that social audit is undertaken as per the provisions of the MGNREGA,” Khera said.
“We also demand that the government of India recovers the misappropriated amount at the earliest and ensures that the recovered money is used to compensate the poor and marginalised who have suffered a lot due to COVID-19 mismanagement,” he said.
The Congress leader claimed that Tamil Nadu had the highest misappropriation of Rs 245 crore between 2017–18 and 2020-21, and in Bihar, Rs 12.34 crore was misappropriated.
Jharkhand, then ruled by the BJP, saw misappropriations to the tune of Rs 51.29 crore, while Rajasthan did not see any misappropriation of MGNREGA funds, Khera claimed.
He alleged that this reflects on the real intentions of the BJP, whose government allowed misappropriation of Rs 935 crores of tax-payers money meant for the poor and marginalised.
Khera also demanded that the Centre withdraw the notification that scrapped the four per cent quota for differently-abled persons in police forces and undo this “inhuman” wrong.
With rising crimes against women under this government it is a matter of shame that more than 90 per cent of the reserved posts for women police officers are vacant, he claimed.
“We demand filling them on a war footing,” Khera said.