New Delhi: The Centre is set to tighten the noose on village heads for their arbitrariness in MNREGA. Cutting powers of village heads, the government has kept them out of the social audit of development work under the MNREGA.

Following the rigging in development works in villages and increasing complaints of corruption, Union Rural Development Ministry has made strict provisions. The directorate of audit has been set up in all the states for the social audit, which will be helped by Controller of Auditor General (CAG) as well.

A great change in the auditing of development work is being made on Gram Sabha level, under which the power of village heads will be cut. Now, they will not participate in the social audit of the development works in their villages.

Under the new provision, village heads will be assigned the work that is not directly or indirectly concerned with that Gram Sabha. District Program Coordinator will also designate an officer in the audit. Villagers’ presence is compulsory in the social audit. If complaints relating to irregularities or misuse of funds are found, all possible actions, including its recovery, should be taken within a month.

Labourers under the MNREGA will be paid within a week. According to the new rule, one can file criminal lawsuit against officers and employees if they are found guilty. An annual calendar of the audit will be prepared under which at least two audits will be carried in a year. For this, CAG too will appoint a representative.

According to the draft of Ministry of Rural Development, social auditors will be trained with the coordination of directorate of audit and CAG. Directorate of Audit will work as an independent agency.

(JPN/ Bureau)