Despite Central government’s stance that it was committed to provide employment through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) across the country, Jammu and Kashmir has managed to avail the least benefit under the prestigious flagship programme.
The state government established SGEF in 2008 with an aim to ensure proper implementation of MGNREGA, a centrally sponsored scheme meant to provide manual work to rural people. Under the scheme, it is mandatory to provide 100 days of work within five-kilometers to the job seekers.
However, the official figures revealed that J&K has remained one of the poor performers under the prestigious flagship programme despite receiving a huge funding from the Centre.
The figures revealed that by the end of year 2016, the State had provided work to only 27 per cent job seekers under the scheme. The figures said that State has provided nearly 27 lakh job cards to the rural population under the aforesaid Act in last three years. Ironically, out of them only 61 thousand people got the complete 100 days of employment, which the Act guarantees.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who presented the Union Budget for fiscal 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha had said that the government at the Centre is committed to ensuring employment through MGNREGA.
However, sources said the Centre has blocked funds for some districts of the State due to poor implementation of the scheme and complaints about the fund embezzlement.
In 2015, figures revealed that around nine lakh jobs cards were issued, 4,92,191 were provided employment and only 32,541 competed 100 days of working. “The government should order a transparent probe where the money has gone as majority of job seekers didn’t avail any benefit from the scheme,” official sources said.
Earlier, the Centre slammed the State over poor implementation of the MGNREGA and found lapses in executing the scheme in J&K.
“Despite receiving crores of rupees from the Centre under this scheme, only a small portion of the State’s population got benefit from it over the years,” an official of Rural Development Department said.
However, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Abdul Haq Khan was not available for comment.