Where has rural development fund gone? Manipur PCC asks

Imphal: Manipur PCC has demanded Manipur government to produce a white paper on ‘misappropriation of funds’ that are meant for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and MGNREGS job card holders.

Manipur, on March 18 received a fund of Rs 485, 50, 75, 000 which was released by ministry of rural development for PRIs and to pay wages to MGNREGS job card holders, for procuring work materials and administrative component of MGNREGA, and to clear two years liabilities for the PRIs.

The Pradhans and Zila Parishad members are asking why the fund has not been released, Manipur PCC spokesperson K. Meghachandra said adding that another Rs 83 crore was released prior to March 18 release.

When the fund was released copies of release were provided to state principal secretary (finance), principal secretary (rural development) and accountant general instructing to utilize it within the financial year, he said.

Stating that last year and in lockdown rural people worked hard to earn the wages the Congress spokesperson asked, “Why the finance department and department of rural development failed to furnish the liabilities of the rural people? This was clearly proved by a series of agitation including the recent 48 hours total shut down imposed by PRIs in the state.

In the sanction letter by the ministry it is clearly mentioned to release the funds to local bodies with three days of the fund sanctioned by the Centre. The fund was to be released together with the state share of 25 percent. If failed the state government has to furnish the fund with an interest of 12 percent for the pending days, he added.

As the fund is not in the department of rural development, it failed to release the fund. “Where has the fund gone?” It shows the fund has been misappropriated utilising in other departments. The state government should set an inquiry against not following the ministry guideline by the principal secretaries, he said.

There might be misappropriation of fund in other departments too, he added.

The Manipur PCC demanded to produce a white paper over the misappropriation of fund to the people of Manipur.
It is very unfortunate that deserving wages of people who toil in the mud and sun heat are not paid, Meghachandra said.
MGNREGS was imitated by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offering 100 days job in a year to rural people of the country. This scheme was appreciated by all in the state as well as in the country. The world acknowledged the scheme for its mass employment generation, he added.

If the government fails to submit utilisation certificate to the ministry for the sanctioned fund, the ministry will not sanction second installment of the fund, Meghachandra said.

Prime Minster told the people that during the lockdown people should earn their income by staying at home. If the state government failed to deliver the pending funds for PRIs and daily wages workers during the lockdown then there is no meaning to earn money by staying at home, he added.

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