New Delhi: Amidst charges of corruption in implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the UPA’s most ambitious welfare scheme, a war of words has begun between the Centre and many state governments. Half of the budget allocation meant for the scheme approved for the ongoing fiscal year is yet to be utilized.

Dissatisfied with the functioning of the state governments in proper implementation of the scheme, the Centre could possibly slash the budget allocation for the next fiscal year. 

Owing to the rampant corruption in utilisation of funds meant for MNREGA, the CAG is going to conduct an investigation in many states. On account of looming threat of CAG probe, many state governments have taken initiatives to curb the unscrupulous and reckless spending in the implementation of the scheme.

A budget allocation of Rs 40,000 crores was made for the financial year 2011-12 to be spent under MNREGA.  A sum of Rs. 22,000 crores was released by the Rural Development Ministry but the authorities responsible for the implementation have only manged to spend Rs 20,000 crores.

Sources in the Ministry informed that as many as 5.4 crore people got employment during last fiscal year (2010-11) but in the current fiscal year (2011-12), only 3.7 core people could get jobs under MNREGA. 

It is noteworthy that during first two years of the implementation of the plan, the Centre had sanctioned the funds as per the demand of the state government, but now after being voted back to power in 2009, the UPA government has been monitoring the various aspects of the scheme.

(JPN/ Bureau)