Published on Centre for Environment and Food Security New Delhi 2007, by Parshuram Ra.
You may have heard about the loopholes and irregularities in implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the biggest anti-poverty scheme in the history of India. The State of Orissa, however, does not have any loopholes or irregularities in the implementation of this high-profile rural job scheme.In a random survey conducted in 100 villages of Orissa’s 6 districts, we found only blackholes and serious irregularities as the only regular thing in all these villages. Our calculations suggest that about 75 per cent of the NREGA funds spent in Orissa have been siphoned and pocketed by the government officials and this loot has been very participatory and organised.
This survey was conducted during May-June 2007 by Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) to assess and evaluate the performance of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the state of Orissa. The survey was carried out in 100 villages spread over six districts of KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region, namely; Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada.
The findings of CEFS survey are shocking, scandalous and outrageous. The Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Orissa has been virtually hijacked by officials responsible for the implementation of this scheme. Our survey findings have revealed that there is participatory loot, plunder and pillage in Orissa’s rural job scheme. There is open loot of taxpayers’ money, there is plunder of poors’ right to guaranteed wage employment for 100 days and there is pillage of every single norm of democratic governance and administrative accountability …
(full long 76 pages text).