Ramesh denies discrimination in funds to states
Bhopal: Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh here on Sunday denied that the Centre was discriminating against states like Madhya Pradesh while allocating funds under various schemes.
"I totally deny the allegation that the Rural Development Ministry is discriminating against states like Madhya Pradesh.
In fact states like MP, UP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, North Eastern states among others are the priority states for his Ministry," Ramesh told reporters here.
Ramesh was here to take part in a conference of NGOs and would also meet State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister had often raised the issue of discrimination by the Centre over allocation of funds under various central schemes.
However, Ramesh said, "whenever we get any proposal from these priority states, they are sanctioned as soon as possible."
The Minister said that the total outlay for the Rural Development Ministry is Rs 99,000 crore for 2012-13 out of which Madhya Pradesh will get Rs 7,500 crore under various schemes including Prime Minister Rural Road Scheme, Indira Awas Yojna, MNREGA and Watershed Mission while there would be a special allocation of Rs 30 crore for the state`s eight naxal-affected districts.
Ramesh clarified that it is the duty of the State Government to take action on complaints of corruption after his ministry sent them report on the issue and expressed his helplessness in directly taking action in such cases due to the federal structure in the country.
The Minister said that he has asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of Indian (CAG) to conduct the audit of fund allocation to the Rural Development Ministry specially of MNREGA.
He also recommended to all the states to conduct social audit of funds under various schemes at panchayat level as is being done in Andhra Pradesh where Rs 120 crore scam was unearthed after the audit and Rs 30 crore being recovered.
Responding to a query, he admitted that one cannot rule out discrepancies in the total utilisation of Rs 40,000 crore allocated under MNREGA, but it is the responsibility of the states and the panchayat to see that such things do not happen, he observed.
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