In a first of its kind in the country, more than 20 lakh people, mostly labourers, have been issued two job cards under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act schemes in Bihar thanks to official negligence, says MI Khan in Patna.
After Rs 5,900 crore (Rs 59 billion) MNREGA scam in Bihar, the officials involved in implementation of MNREGA issued two job cards to 20 lakh people, a big blunder.
"This major irregularity in implementation of MNREGA in Bihar surfaced when the records related to it were being uploaded on the Management Information System," an official of the state rural development department said on Thursday in Patna.
According to officials, Muzaffarpur district tops the list with 96,855 double job cards under MNREGA scheme. Till date about 1.25 crores people have been given job cards in Bihar.
The MNREGA aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
"For a job card, the petition in this regard is given in panchayat and the block programme officers and panchayat rozgar sevaks, working at panchayat level enrolled for it. But the panchayat members also have panchayats to cross-check the names before registering and issuing the job-cards," another official of the department said.
It is for panchayat rozgar sevaks and block programme officers to monitor the issuance of job-cards. But it appears that none of them cross-checked the records before issuing the job-cards.
Job cards are given to people, especially poorest of the poor, as it is on its basis that they get work, wages and unemployment allowance.
The life of job-card is five years.
In December, Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a thorough probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the MNREGA scam in Bihar.
Opposition parties had earlier demanded a CBI probe into allegations that nearly 73 per cent of the funds allotted for the implementation of the MNERGA in 38 districts of Bihar, between 2006 and 2012, have been embezzled by authorities.
The hearing in the MNREGA case is scheduled on January 21, 2013. A performance audit of the MNREGA conducted by CEFS has revealed massive corruption and serious irregularities in the implementation of the rural job scheme in Bihar.
According to the audit, the Bihar government has spent a total amount of Rs 8,189 crore (Rs 81.89 billion) during six years on NREGA, of which Rs 5,977 crore (Rs 59.77 billion) has been misappropriated by implementing authorities.