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UK inquiry into misuse of India education aid

Britain has launched an inquiry into reports that millions of pounds of aid for education and the `Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan`, has disappeared into the depths of corruption.

London: Britain has launched an inquiry
into reports that millions of pounds of aid for education and
the `Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan`, has disappeared into the depths
of corruption without any benefit to the poor children the aid
was intended for.

Shocked by reports based on findings by the Ministry
of Human Resources Development, Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of
State for International Development, said: "These are shocking

"I have launched an immediate inquiry to ensure
British aid money has not been misused. The new British
Government will have a zero tolerance policy to corruption".

Reports in the British media about the corruption
mentioned a figure of 340 million pounds in aid to a schools
project for children under the age of 14.

One audit of money earmarked for the Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan project found that 70 million pounds had reportedly

Mitchell said: "When I took up this job a month ago I
made a pledge to taxpayers that they must know that for every
pound of their money, we will get 100 pence of value".

"Now I`m reviewing every single one of the Department
for International Development`s country programmes to ensure
we are giving aid to where it`s most needed - to help the
world`s poorest people".

`The News of the World` quoted a report by India`s
Auditor General that almost 14 million pounds had been spent
on items and luxuries that had nothing to do with schools.

The newspaper`s investigation said: "Cash meant for
kids` education has been blown on luxuries.

"We discovered that officials throughout the country
had used it to buy new cars and in one instance aid cash was
spent on four luxury beds costing a total of 17,754 pounds as
well as a 3,803 pounds computer".

Large amounts of money were shown to have been spent
on schools that reportedly did not exist, while in some cases
air conditioners, faxes, photocopiers and 7,531 colour
television sets were reportedly bought despite there being no
electricity supplies.

The report said that 150,000 pounds was paid into a
mystery bank account with no reason given.

It quoted a report by the Institute of Public Auditors
of India that in Bihar children were reportedly being taught
in open fields, because money had not been passed on for
classroom repairs.

"In Muzzaffarpur they found that only 400,000 pounds
out of an allocated 1.1 million had gone to schools," it said.

India is one of the largest recipients of British
foreign aid.


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