Not by rule alone
This is a discussion on Not by rule alone within the RTI News & Discussion forums, part of the RTI News, Circulars and Decisions category; As reported by Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty in thehindu.com on 01 Aug 2012: The Hindu : Today's Paper / MISCELLANEOUS : Not by rule alone Not by rule alone A large ...
- 08-01-2012, 11:18 PM #1
Not by rule alone
As reported bySangeeta Barooah Pisharoty in thehindu.com on 01 Aug 2012:
The Hindu : Today's Paper / MISCELLANEOUS : Not by rule alone
Not by rule alone
A large number of blind beneficiaries under the MGNREGS and National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation are not blind, reveals a study
Many blind beneficiaries under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) are not actually blind, alleges the All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB), one of the most active and largest voluntary organisations in the country working for the visually impaired.
Quoting from a recent eight-State study conducted by the AICB that led the outfit to come to the conclusion, its secretary general J.L. Kaul, says: “Since MGNREGA is the much talked about mainstream poverty alleviation scheme in the country, we thought of checking out how many disabled persons, particularly the blind, have benefited from it. The results are shocking.” he says.
The study conducted in Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh apparently revealed that many blind beneficiaries were in fact not blind. “In Punjab, for instance, of the 602 reported blind beneficiaries, our team found none to be visually impaired,” says Mr. Kaul.
“Similarly, in the Puttur block of Karnataka, 43 persons, reported to be visually impaired as per the information supplied to our team by the concerned officials, were surveyed but all of them had full vision,” he points out. Yet another example he gives is of Rajasthan’s Sikar district. “Of the 32 reported MGNREGS visually impaired beneficiaries, 20 were found to be sighted by our field investigator.”
In Meghalaya, the team found through an RTI application only one blind beneficiary, and in the entire North East, only 14 such people have benefited from the scheme.
The study, which gathered data and related information through RTI applications and interview of beneficiaries, highlights that the handful of visually impaired actually getting work under the scheme have to face many hurdles in procuring a job card. “Some were made to sign attendance registers but not given any work.” This is because jobs suitable for such people are not yet identified, points out Mr. Kaul, adding, “None of the interviewed district level officials seemed to know about the provision in the MGNREGA guidelines relating to persons with disabilities.”
The 11-member team that collected the information also monitored disability-specific government run self-employment schemes in these States channelised through the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC), which has an authorised shared capital of Rs. 400 crore. Things seem to be no better even here.
“In Haryana, for instance, of the 27 blind beneficiaries who were supposed to have availed the NHFDC loans during the years 2007-10, 13 were either not blind or had not received any loan,” Mr. Kaul says.
He adds: “In some cases, family members have taken loans in the name of the blind persons. In some others, the borrower has long died.” Also, whatever little benefits that have trickled down to the visually impaired include very few women within their ambit.
The study, funded by Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, has come up with a list of 30 recommendations “to make these schemes meaningful”. These include preparing audio-visual material to sensitise and train the concerned MGNREGS officials about the capacities and inclusion of persons with disabilities and ensuring that disabled workers get the maximum number of work days available in a particular project/activity. For NHFDC schemes, among other recommendations, the report suggests that the data maintained by it regarding the beneficiaries should be reviewed at regular intervals.