22 Nov : Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan on Saturday termed National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as one of the most progressive welfare measures but said it was hindered by factors such as corruption, lack of transparency and nexus between contractors and officials.
The scheme seeks to ensure livelihood security and improve the purchasing power of rural households through the payment of statutory minimum wages for work undertaken, in the process the NREGS also seeks to check rural-urban migration and deploy labour for building public works, he said in his address to a Regional Conference on the scheme.
He, however, said though the scheme had received some favourable reports in limiting distress migration in some districts, there were several systemic problems.
It was not uncommon to come across accounts of falsification of records, records indicating that a particular individual had worked only for a few days on a site whereas the reality would be the same person had been engaged there for much longer period.
There were frequent reports about falsification of wage records. Local contractors also denied access to muster rolls on demand by workers and activists.
He said these problems could be addressed through persistent efforts of the civil society, institutions and legal system.
"It is important for individuals to be aware of their entitlements under the scheme and to collectively participate in social audits concerned with NREGS," he said.
Social audits could provide a method to gauge the effective implementation of the scheme and shape decisions on nature of projects to be undertaken, he said.