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MGNREGA Scam Unveiled: Elaborate Swindling and Inefficacy of Oversight in Tamil Nadu

In a disconcerting revelation, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts has been marred by corruption and inefficacy. Ombudspersons, responsible for oversight, discovered 18 ineligible beneficiaries, including affluent individuals and textile mill owners, receiving wages under MGNREGA. The modus operandi involved creating fake job codes and documenting non-existent work.

Despite complaints, limited staffing impedes thorough investigations, with some beneficiaries returning funds claiming mistakes. In Tiruppur, a fake job code led to a substantial payout for work never performed. The ombudspersons’ effectiveness is hampered by invisibility, lack of support staff, and corrupt social audits, revealing systemic challenges in ensuring transparency and preventing corruption in MGNREGA implementation. Public engagement and scrutiny of online data are proposed as potential safeguards against malpractices.