A large number of blind beneficiaries under the MGNREGS are not blind
A recent study conducted by the All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) covering eight states has found that many blind beneficiaries under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) are not actually blind. The study involved eight states - Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh. The 11-member team based their study data gathered through applications filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and interview of beneficiaries. A few instances quoted by the AICB are:-
- In Punjab, of the 602 reported blind beneficiaries, none found to be visually impaired.
- In the Puttur block of Karnataka, 43 persons, reported to be visually impaired were found to have full vision.
- In Sikar district of Rajasthan 20 out of the reported 32 MGNREGS visually impaired beneficiaries were found to be sighted.
- In Haryana, 13 out of the 27 blind beneficiaries who were supposed to have availed the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC) loans during the years 2007-10, were either not blind or had not received any loan.
The study was funded by Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted and has come up with a list of 30 recommendations to improve the working of the schemes and make them more meaningful.