ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Politics of Job Cards

In a recent interview, Jean Dreze, one of the architects of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), noted that the “hoarding” of job cards by sarpanchs, panchayat secretaries or others is a common problem. Such practices are followed by the offenders to fudge records and siphon NREGS funds. Dreze argued that hoarding of job cards must be made a punishable offence under the much-awaited grievance redress rules of the NREGS.

Job card hoarding by panchayat leaders has become an organic part of the “politics of governance” being followed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M) – in rural West Bengal. This fact came to light in the recent anti-CPI(M) violence in Khejuri. In the debris of the ransacked house of a local CPI(M) leader, who was also a panchayat pradhan in Kalagachia, 20 people found their job cards. It may be mentioned here that arms and ammunitions were seized from the cowshed of the leader’s house.

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