Bhubaneswar, Sep 17 (UNI) Expressing concern over the slackness in execution of NREG scheme, Union Minister for Rural Development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today said the state governments could not absolve themselves from the accountability enshrined on them under the Scheme.
Reviewing the performance of ten states during the first quarter of the current year under NREG and other centrally sponsored rural development scheme here, the Union Minister said lack of reporting by the state governments, despite several ''missives'' by the Centre, was affecting the implementation of the scheme.
He said the performance of the states in the implementation of the scheme was not up to the mark and needed to be picked up.
The Minister, who reviewed the performances of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Pondicherry and Bhopal said low demand for work in districts known for chronic poverty was mainly due to lack of awareness, motivation and slackness in execution and asked the states to maintain greater coordination among various agencies.
Mr Singh also asked the states to ensure undertaking of appropriate work, particularly in the area of water conservation, irrigation, land development, afforestation, horticulture and rural connectivity.
Talking to newsmen after the review meeting, the minister admitted irregularities in the implementation of NREG scheme and attributed the reason to lack of awareness.
He said a five-point programme -- awareness, people participation, strict vigilance and monitoring, transparency and accountability could only solve the problem.
To a question, the minister said CAG was inquiring the allegation of irregularities received from 69 districts across the country and would submit its report in October next, adding that strict action would be taken against the persons found guilty of irregularities.
Mr Singh said the Union government had no plan to amend the guidelines that empowered the representatives of Panchayat and Zilla Parishad for the implementation of NREG scheme. The Union government, rather, wanted to give more power to the representatives at the panchayat Zilla Parishad level and there was no need for amending the guidelines, he added.