Ramesh wants Assam rural jobs scheme audited

October 28th, 2011 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Oct 28 (IANS) The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India will be asked to do a performance audit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Assam, according to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The decision assumes significance because allegations of anomalies in the implementation of the scheme are mounting in Assam. There are also allegations, especially from Dima Hasao district, that wages were paid for more than the mandated 100 days.

Speaking here Thursday, Ramesh did not comment on any of the allegations but made it clear that the scheme’s implementation would need to be accelerated and jobs under it diversified covering areas like irrigation, water and wetland management and forestry.

The minister also raised the issue of delays in payment of wages.

“Be liberal in funding but be ruthless in demanding accountability and transparency. I have already had three rounds of discussions with the CAG for the performance audit. The special accountant general will be involved for the audit in 11 states,” Ramesh said.

The minister also warned that there should not be any misunderstanding on the selection of states for the performance audit. “The 11 states are ruled by political parties of all shades,” Ramesh said.

The rural development ministry is also working on using biometric cards in Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal for ensuring transparency in implementing the rural jobs scheme.

“At the end of the day, we need accountability and transparency on the use of funds we provide for various rural development schemes. The CAG will also be auditing the expenditure of rural development funds in states so that accountability and transparency is ensured,” he added.

The minister also announced new rural development projects in Assam.

The ministry will fund 1,000 km of rural roads at an estimated cost of Rs.600 crore and 400 bridges for Rs.812 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Ramesh has asked the state government to submit a detailed report by December on these projects. He said he would talk to the finance ministry on securing international loans for rural roads in Assam.

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