Link rural job scheme, Swachh Bharat with Aadhaar: Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament is likely to come up with a set of suggestions to improve the rural employment guarantee scheme.

These include adding works under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to the MGNREGA, linking the scheme with Aadhaar, strengthening the independent auditing of the scheme, avoiding contractors, and improving the functioning of the Central Employment Guarantee Council.

Third evaluation

This is the third time that the PAC is evaluating the performance of the scheme. The panel has also found several discrepancies in the spending of funds and pulled up the Rural Development Ministry for not exercising adequate control over expenditure.

The PAC has also noted that the chief accounting authority and financial adviser of the Ministry are personally responsible in ensuring that the funds sanctioned by the Legislative department are spent in the public interest and for the purposes for which money is sanctioned.

It said the audit has exercised only a test-check and urged the Ministry to find out the magnitude of losses by carrying out a 100 per cent check of all transactions.

The members in the panel, while appreciating the Centre’s efforts to plug loopholes, wanted Aadhaar linked with the scheme. They have also suggested that an independent social audit should be carried out on expenditure. The members also appreciated the Centre’s decision to link the scheme with agricultural activities.

“It should also be linked with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. A number of works under this scheme can be linked to the MGNREGA. It will help a lot of rural workers,” a member in the panel said.

The panel has also suggested that gram panchayats should be made the key implementing agency of the scheme. It has also said that all wages should be paid through bank accounts so that the role of middlemen can be curbed.