This report by the Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) deals with performance audit of ten food security and poverty alleviation schemes in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The schemes covered under this audit include, (a) Public Distribution System (PDS), (b) Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), (c) Mid-day Meals (MDM), (d) Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), (e) National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), (f) National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS), (g) Annapurna, (h) National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS), (i) Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), and (j) National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
This performance audit was conducted during July-October 2010 through sample survey in 130 villages spread over 12 districts of Orissa and UP (Bundelkhand). The CEFS carried out questionnaire-based survey of twenty five very poor dalit/adivasi (SC/ST) households in every sample village. The total number of sample households covered under the survey is 3250. 53.4 per cent of the sample households are dalit and 46.6 per cent are adivasi.
The study made some of these observations regarding NREGS –
- Large numbers of very poor dalit and adivasi households in Orissa and UP have not received even a single day of NREGS employment in last five years or have received it only for a few days. Over 67 per cent of the very poor and needy sample households in Orissa and UP did not get even a single day of the NREGS employment during the last one year (from the month of survey). This survey was conducted only among extremely poor adivasi and dalit households, most of whom desperately need NREGS job and earn their livelihood primarily by casual wage employment. Most of these households live a life of chronic hunger and extreme deprivation.
- The average NREGS employment actually provided to the surveyed households in Orissa and UP during the previous one year was only about 10 days against the 100 days of stipulated entitlement in one year. Moreover, segregated data of Orissa is very disturbing. The average NREGS employment actually provided to the surveyed households in Orissa during the previous one year was only about 4 days per household against about 20 days of average NREGS employment provided to the surveyed households in UP during the previous one year.
- Only 7.3 per cent of the total sample households had received above 50 days of NREGS employment in the previous one year.
- About 77 per cent of the very poor and needy sample households in Orissa did not get even a single day of the NREGS employment during previous one year. The average NREGS employment actually provided to the surveyed households in Orissa during the previous one year was only about 4 days per household.
- Transparency and accountability in NREGS: There were serious irregularities and rampant corruption in the implementation of the NREGS in UP and Orissa. Very few villagers have seen muster rolls. Live muster rolls are never available at the worksite.
- In none of the surveyed villages there has been any Gram Sabha meeting or Social Audit of NREGS work.
- NREGS and distress migration: There is no let up in the distress migration of dalits, adivasis and other poor communities from the rural areas of UP and Orissa. Due to brazen denial of the NREGS employment, large numbers of poor villagers have migrated to cities and towns in search of casual wage employment.
- NREGS and poverty alleviation: The current level of hunger and deprivation in the sample districts of UP and Orissa is as deep, demeaning and dehumanising as ever even after five years of the launch of the NREGS. The NREGS has made virtually zero impact on the livelihood security of UP’s and Orissa’s rural poor.
The report makes the following recommendations -
- Implement universal PDS with exclusion of 25- 30 per cent households on the basis of objective parameters like – employment in the organised sector, ownership of motor vehicle, tax payee etc.
- Launch national campaign to bring transparency and accountability in the delivery of all food security and social security schemes.
- Implement Section 4 of RTI and ensure pro-active disclosure of every information related to all food security and social security schemes.
- Disclose all information regarding the actual delivery of food security and poverty alleviation schemes on the district websites.
- Create and operate National/State level MIS (Management Information System) for all food security and social security schemes.
- Awareness campaign for enforcement of all food security entitlements at GP, Block and District levels.
- Make social audit of all food security and social security schemes mandatory.
- Effective and independent oversight body at GP level (of villagers, activists, NGOs) for vigilance and monitoring of the food security and social security schemes.
- Create effective grievance redressal mechanism and provide for exemplary punishment for officials/functionaries responsible for irregularities in the functioning and delivery of all the food security and social security schemes.
- Initiate a national debate on the desirability, viability and potential of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) as a substitute for the existing kind transfer.
Download the report here -