Google Earth scanner for UP job scheme
The centrally-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), which has its share of controversies over allegations of scams and siphoning off funds, is turning over a new leaf in Uttar Pradesh.
The state government has adopted a global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS)-based monitoring mechanism for greater transparency in MNREGA works. The projects can now be seen on Google Earth for verification.
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The novel system, developed in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, has been implemented as a pilot in three blocks of Lakhimpur Kheri, Hardoi and Unnao districts. It would be adopted all over Uttar Pradesh after evaluating its efficacy.
GIS is an environment to capture, analyse and present geographical data, while GPS is a satellite-based navigation system. GPS satellites circle earth in a precise orbit and transmit signals.
Through advanced technological tools, one can determine the exact position of an object and display it on an electronic map.
State agricultural production commissioner Alok Ranjan said here the photographs of MNREGA works, along with their latitude and longitude coordinates, had been uploaded on the state rural development website.
The new system would help detect instances of duplication of MNREGA works already completed and allow better analysis of development works in an area. This would help the government check frauds in the scheme and ensure transparency, state rural development commissioner Anil Garg said.
As per official data, about 3.2 million families in Uttar Pradesh had been provided with jobs under MNREGA this financial year (until September) by incurring Rs 1,320 crore.
During the previous Mayawati regime (2007-12), then Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had written to the state alleging a scam in the job scheme and demanded stern action. Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had also accused the state of large-scale corruption in central schemes.