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Evaluation dept’s study punches hole in Nagaland VDB functioning

By EMN Updated: Jul 26, 2019 10:41 pm

Eastern Mirror Desk

Dimapur, July 26: The Directorate of Evaluation, government of Nagaland, conducted a ‘study on functioning and impact of Village Development Board (VDB) in Nagaland’ and one of its attempts was to ascertain whether the findings, impacts and suggestions made on the functioning of the VDB hold true, and whether any follow-up action has been taken by the department concerned.

In their study, it was mentioned that 31% of the VDB secretaries deduct funds from the beneficiaries’ bill to defray their travel expenses, boarding/lodging and other miscellaneous expenses. To prevent such practises, the honorarium of the VDB secretaries should be enhanced, the study said.

In some villages, the number of tax-paying households remained constant for consecutive years while in some, there were many fluctuations in the numbers. At the village level, VDB secretaries have not properly maintained yearly updated household lists, it stated.

The study also showed that there was no proper maintenance of registers and records. Record maintenance was found to be very poor in all the sample villages, except Namhaching village under the Tamlu RD block where the survey team could easily extract the requisite data. Standard Record Maintenance System incorporating transaction of VDB funds, bank accounts, loan taken, repayment, work done was required, it noted.

Some VDB secretaries were found to be serving for more than 22 years. As per the VDB Rules 1980, VDB secretaries may be re-elected; however, re-election to the post of VDB secretary should be limited to three terms only.

“At the end of the tenure of every VCC and VDB secretary in some villages, khel-wise or clan-wise, politicking was observed. Because of such practices, handing and taking over of VDB records and registers do not take place. To prevent such incidents, VDB Module Rules should invariably be enforced and defaulting persons should be penalised,” the study recommended.

In some cases, it was found that VDB secretaries would pile up the work order in loose forms, without recording it in the relevant registers. Therefore, regular monitoring and supervision by the department is necessary. Besides periodical training on accounting, record keeping and maintenance should be organised at the block and village level, the study suggested.

It further showed that VDBs under Mokokchung district were paying the entire electricity bill of the villages, employing caretakers and private Hindi teachers in the villages. The maximum number of water harvesting tanks and toilets were constructed by the VDBs under Mokokchung district. Such performing VDBs and their good practises should be recognised, the study suggested.

The increase in the number of households during the reference period was 11% for the state but in Mon and Longleng districts, the number of households declined. Both the increase and decrease of the number of households were erratic, it stated. While most of the VDB secretaries do not maintain household register, the department with the help of district administration, should ensure enumeration and submission of accurate figures on the number of households annually, it recommended.

Most of the VDB works relate to road construction, widening, soiling, metalling and these works entail huge expenditure, which was beyond the funding of the VDBs. Hence it recommended convergence of programmes through collaboration with PWD under ‘integrated programme of fund’ and suggested that shared funding should to be adopted.

Most of the villagers, who were issued job cards, were neither aware of its whereabouts, nor about the number of people registered as job cardholders from the village. Therefore, the number of job cards issued with names should be displayed on a notice board in the village council hall, it stated.

The study suggested that VDBs should be instructed to display on a notice board, details of all schemes implemented in the village with the cost along with the date of initiation and completion of the scheme.

By EMN Updated: Jul 26, 2019 10:41:36 pm