Following a review of rural works by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government plans to geotag all assets created under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The geotagging of assets which include works related to natural resource management that include water conservation, land development, irrigation, etc. would bring in transparency and check leakages.
The move comes in as every year the government allocates Rs 30000-40000 crore to MGNREGA to sponsor various works for creation of wages, employment and productive assets. However, cases of corruption and leakages are rampant.
“The Prime Minister recently convened a review meeting. During the meeting, it was decided that there is a need for online recording and monitoring of assets to check leakages and for effective mapping of resources and their location details for future development works," Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told R&M on the sidelines of a conference on MNREGA in New Delhi.
He said that geotagging of assets will capture latitude and longitude of the asset and for this his Ministry has signed an agreement with ISRO recently.Assets created under MGNREGA include works related to natural resource management that include water conservation, land development, irrigation, etc.Besides these, dams, irrigational channels, check dams, ponds, wells anaganwadi assets were also constructed under this scheme.
“Geo-tagged assets will not only ease identification and monitoring; it can also be implemented to perform additional developmental works on existing assets,” Secretary Rural Development Amarjit Sinha said.
The government admitted that there were a number of deficiencies and several measures are being taken to improve transparency. "To curb corruption, we have taken the DBT route for making payment of wages. We are also strictly monitoring the scheme," said Ram Kripal Yadav, Minister of State for Rural Development.
"There used to be massive corruption. …There was perception that MGNREGA means loot. We have put a stop to the loot and lies through DBT (Direct Benefit transfer)," he claimed.
The government’s priority is to create more jobs and also set up assets especially irrigation and farm sector, Yadav said. The claimed that a maximum of 235 working days were created in 2015-16 and new initiatives like creation of assets and conversion have been taken.
Tomar clarified that “MNREGA is a demand-driven scheme. Many times, there is a situation where there is more demand but less people come (to join the scheme). Hence, there is a gap." The Rural Development Minister assured that everyone who asks for job will definitely be provided.