20 Oct : A study conducted by the National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD), Hyderabad in Orissa has shown that awareness on National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) has Improved, equal wages are being paid to men and women in most of the districts, maintenance of records has improved,
details of NREGS related information have been displayed as wall writings in most Gram Panchayats, NREGS has reached the remotest area in many Blocks erasing the feeling of neglect, it has Improved village economy due to increased employment opportunities, higher wages and equal wages for women, Special Help Groups are being involved, the Social Audit processes have made the implementing officials and authorities accountable, NREGS implementation has seen a very impressive improvement in 2007-08 over 2006-07, the efforts of the State Government need to be commended in this regard, there appears to be a political will too, quite a number of households are not yet registered under NREGS and a good number of households have not yet received job cards even after registration, Ineligible works or works involving high proportion of materials taken up in some Gram Panchayats, discrepancies in Muster rolls were observed due to System deficiencies, such as job cards printed for Phase-I districts did not have a provision for recording wages paid(since rectified in Phase-II districts), On-line entry limitation, engaging non-job card holders, some irregular practices have been noticed like over measurement, addition of bogus names, outside labour through contractors, Spill over works of other Schemes like SGRY and NFFW, fake muster rolls.
NIRD, an autonomous body working under the Ministry of Rural Development, was given a free hand and logistic support by the State Government. To ensure that the wages reach the actual beneficiaries, the State Govt. had directed all the districts to mandatorily make wage payment though Bank/Post Office account w.e.f. 1.10.08.
The State Government of Orissa had asked National Institute of Rural Development( NIRD), Hyderabad in November, 2007 to evaluate implementation of Schemes under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in Orissa by conducting pilot Social Audits in 40 Gram Panchayats.