Patna,(BiharTimes): Delhi-based Centre for Environment & Food Security (CEFS) on Thursday filed an application in the Supreme Court of India seeking thorough CBI probe into the MNREGA Scam of Bihar.
The application was filed by Parshuram Rai, Director of CEFS
on December 13 and the next hearing is scheduled on January 21.
It needs to be recalled that the Supreme Court, in its Order dated 12-05-2011 had, inter alia, passed the following direction to all the State Governments:
“Keeping in view the fact that there has been persistent default on the part of a number of States in fully implementing the provisions of the Act, we hereby direct all the State Governments to file affidavits stating whether they have accepted and are duly implementing the Operational Guidelines issued by the Government of India, within six weeks from today. In the event, these Guidelines have not been accepted or are not being implemented, the affidavit shall specifically state reasons for such non-acceptance and/or non-implementation of the afore-stated directions/guidelines.”
After the above Order, most of the State Governments, including State of Bihar, filed their affidavits in compliance of the above order. Most of the State Governments, including that of Bihar, in their affidavits had said that they had accepted and were implementing the Operational Guidelines issued by the Government of India.
The Petitioner had on affidavit earlier submitted: “The petitioner would humbly submit that the ground reality about the implementation of the Operational Guidelines by various states is totally different. These Guidelines are actually being implemented only in official records and files and not on the ground. Except perhaps the states of Andhra Pradesh and maybe Tamil Nadu as well, no State Government is implementing the MGNREGA Guidelines sincerely. This fact has been acknowledged by the Union of India…If the Guidelines were implemented in letter and spirit, then there would be very little scope for irregularities and corruption in NREG scheme.”
The affidavit filed by the Government of Bihar dated September 6, 2011 in compliance of the Supreme Court’s order dated 12.05.2011 was striking in the sense that along with the affidavit of the State Government sworn by Commissioner, MNREGA, Department of Rural Development, Govt. of Bihar, all the 38 DDCs (Deputy Development Commissioners) of Bihar in their capacity of District Programme Coordinator of MNREGA had also submitted signed assertion certifying that the MNREGA Operational Guidelines in their respective districts were being implemented in letter and spirit .
Ater reading the submissions made in the above mentioned affidavit of the Bihar Government, the Petitioner herein (Centre for Environment & Food Security -CEFS) decided to do a reality check on the ground and therefore conducted a sample survey on the performance of MNREGA in Bihar. The CEFS sample survey in Bihar has revealed massive corruption and serious irregularities in the implementation of the rural job scheme. Hardly any provision of the MNREGA Operational Guidelines is being implemented in the State of Bihar as was claimed under oath by the Commissioner and the DDCs.
Rs 6000 Crore MNREGA Scam in Bihar
A performance audit of the MNREGA conducted by CEFS suggests that about 73 per cent of the MNREGA funds spent in 38 districts of Bihar during 2006/7-2011/12 have been embezzled by implementing authorities. Bihar spent a total amount of Rs. 8189 crore during 6 years (2006/7-2011/12) on NREGA. Since about 73 per cent of NREGA funds have been siphoned off as per survey, a total amount of Rs. 5977 crore or nearly Rs. 6000 crore (73 per cent of Rs.8189 crore) has apparently been misappropriated by implementing authorities.
According to the petitioner the enquiry into the MNREGA scam is being conducted by the same Block and District authorities. This has been highlighted by the newspapers of Patna too. No action has been taken against any senior officer.
The CEFS survey report on the performance of MNREGA in Bihar has categorically stated: “The scale and dimensions of MNREGA corruption in Bihar suggest that this kind of open loot is impossible without active connivance of the block and district authorities. MNREGA has various inbuilt vigilance and monitoring mechanisms and it is not possible to perpetrate such an open loot of MNREGA funds unless it is participatory and organized.”
The petitioner said that under these circumstances, and the facts that have come to light, especially considering the fact that Bihar has the second highest number of people below poverty line in the country who have been deprived of its benefits and also considering that total expenditure on MNREGA in Bihar is more than Rs 9,000 crore, a thorough independent investigation into the implementation of MNREGA in the State is required.
The petitioner prayed to the apex court to direct a thorough CBI investigation into the implementation of schemes under the MNREGA in Bihar.