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Mobile monitoring to make rural job scheme transparent

In a move aimed at bringing transparency and effective implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre is going to introduce mobile monitoring system soon. According to Rural Development Ministry official, the monitoring system would be introduced on a pilot project basis to allow real time monitoring of all works, workers attendance and work site measurement. The initiative is likely to plug leakages and loopholes in the rural employment scheme.

Dubbing the move as a revolutionary step in the history of rural job scheme, the ministry official said, “The mobile monitoring system will make it easy to keep an eye on all kinds of work being done under the scheme. The new system will help in posting the latest pictures of ongoing works just by using a mobile phone. The photos will be uploaded on the website of the ministry, which would be monitored by concerned officials regularly.”

Interestingly, activists and NGOs have also welcomed Modi government’s move and at the same time they have made certain suggestions to make the system more transparent and accountable.

While talking to Millennium Post, Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kishan Shakti Sangthan said, “We welcome the initiative. It will definitely bring transparency in the rural job scheme only if the pictures would be uploaded on the website and made accessible for every citizen.”

Social activist Dey further added, “This is not new technology. We have seen the system in practice in the state of Andhra Pradesh. But the worrying thing about this is that if government fails to put the records of action taken against complaints on the website, it is not going to help poor people.”

Notably, the Centre has recently sanctioned Rs 147 crore to the states to strengthen the social audit structures. Social audit ensures comprehensive public scrutiny of records and accounts with a view to enhance transparency and accountability. The additional grant was sanctioned as states were finding it difficult to put the necessary institutional structures for social audit within the overall six per cent administrative cost.

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