Jaipur: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA) played a major role in bringing the Congress to power in Rajasthan, but only Rs 2.5 crore have been spent on the scheme in the state till now.

Officials explained that since no loose ends are being in the implementation of scheme, only those people are getting the jobs who really need them. The question then is: where did Rs 4000 cr allocated for the scheme vanish?

Did it become victim of corruption as state’s social audit has exposed various cases of irregularities recently?

Officials of the Rajasthan Rural Development department say earlier there were no guidelines for the scheme and that is why there were cases of corruption in the audit. The performance of collectors was being evaluated in terms of the number of labourers they gave jobs to. It being a demand-driven scheme, expenditure on MNREGA should not be linked with Budget, they opine.

Now that proper guidelines have been issued, the scheme is being implemented strictly with set directions. With a better Monsoon season, there has been a drop in the demand for jobs under the scheme this year.

According to figures, in 2009-09, Rs 6175.55 cr was spent on employment of 63.69 lakh families. In 2010-11, the expenditure has been cut to Rs 2582 cr with 55.09 lakh families being covered. While average wage has been reduced to Rs 75 (from Rs 89), families undertaking 100 days of work have been reduced to 2.1 lakh from 25.94 lakh.

At a job fair at Jaipur’s Industry Grounds on February 2, many people had complained that job applications are not being accepted by Panchayats. Government ordered availability of forms at ration shops and post offices, receipt of forms is still not available there. It is the receipt which makes a job-seeker eligible for unemployment allowance. In the entire state, only 17 people have been paid this allowance.

(JPN/Bureau)