The state Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had once ridiculed the implementation of the rural employment guarantee scheme. He was commenting on the way funds meant for the rural poor under NREGS have been swindled by the election officials of the rural bodies like the pradhans and the members of the gram panchayat. His most famous comment at the state assembly was that ‘job card’ is turning into ‘job car’. Well, that was that. The Chief Minister did not follow it up with measures for preventing the leakages, which he should have. A question naturally comes into mind. Has he lost the moral authority to punish the corrupt? Everyone knows that his close relatives and supporters have become rich overnight; they live in mansions and drive fancy cars like the SUVs. Yet, he was right when he compared the job card with job car. NREGS has become a money making machine, Tragedy is that the scheme is corrupting the local leaders and the overall work culture of the state. The lure of easy money is driving people nuts. Look at the mad rush for the ensuing elections of the Panchayat and Zilla Parishad, while on the other hand it has become very difficult to find agriculture labourers as almost everyone is opting for NREGS work. It has also led to a steep hike in the wages of agriculture labourers. Meanwhile, NREGS in the state is full of controversies over non-payment of wages and absence of desired results in the ground like in other states of the country. Somebody said, NREGS in Manipur is a total farce because bulldozers and other mechanical devices are used in ground levelling , digging ponds clearing the bushes and nullahs. The increase in use of RTI mainly women in the rural areas has been able to expose the developing corrupt system in the rural areas by local leaders. Every now and then, we are hearing reports of RTI applicants who had the courage to question the nature of work done and the actual funds sanctioned being threatened by the powerful NREGS lobby and vested interests involved in swindling funds. At times, the authorities had even tried to ostracise RTI applicants by using villagers and sometimes unsavoury elements. The pradhans and the members are looting public funds meant for the rural poor and the state government is approving it by inaction. Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh was right when he raised doubts on the figures of Manipur with regard to implementation of NREGS. He had said that it is too good to be true and he wanted the actual figures. It was a slap on the face the state government. Jairam Ramesh had also said that he would send an independent team to evaluate the achievement claim made by the Manipur government on implementation of projects under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). According to official figures, Manipur was the top state in implementing the scheme, providing employment for 80 days in a year, while the national average is 45 days. The Union Minister had criticised state governments for failing to implement social audits of key flagship welfare schemes. According to the regulations, social audit must be done every year by every village council. It is not being done not just in Manipur, it has not been done anywhere in the country except in Andhra Pradesh. Why is social audit becoming a joke in the states and the country? The fault lies in the system. Ramesh had asked the Chief Minister Ibobi Singh to ensure “social auditing” of implementation of programmes either by gram panchayats or village authorities. The implementers, the monitors and social auditors are like the spokes of the wheel of corruption in the case of NREGS. Where is the central team that Jairam Ramesh had promised? We thought he was different from the rest. But we are simply disappointed in Jairam Ramesh not living upto his words.
Photography Credit and Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Siroi hills/ Shirui hills ranges in the Ukhrul District of Manipur, India, at an elevation of 1730m–2590m above sea level. Picture speaks itself the beauty of the Siroy Hill
Kankhui Cave – Sculpted by Nature – Ukhrul Manipur Photography Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Khangkhui Cave is a remarkable natural lime- stone cave located at Ukhrul, Manipur, India. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil … Continue reading
Unique Manipur Yaoshang Sports – Bor Keina Competition – 2013 Photography and Credit: Loyangamba Khundongbam All types of sports are held during Yaoshang Sports meet at Manipur or different parts of the world for women, men and children namely Chaphu … Continue reading
View of Manipur Valley during evening time Photography Credit and Copyright: Moirangthem Ranjit This is the valley where we live. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and hills, once upon a time, this valley was submerged underwater. All waters were … Continue reading
Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore – Yaoshang Sports Meet – 2013 – Bangalore The Annual Yaoshang Sports Meet, 2013 at Bangalore organized by Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore was held on Sunday, 24 March at Country Club Lakeside, Attibele Hobli. 350 plus … Continue reading