'CAG audit of rural schemes will send message to states'

“Through this initiative (audits by the CAG), we are sending a signal to all the states that we are serious about accountability and transparency,” said Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Ramesh had recently stirred up a hornet’s nest by writing to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to seek her consent for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged irregularities in implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Mayawati reacted by writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, complaining that Ramesh’s allegations on irregularities in MGNREGS implementation in UP were politically motivated. The Bahujan Samaj Party leader also protested against purported threat by Ramesh that the Centre could even curtail flow of fund if the UP government did not take steps against the irregularities.

Ramesh, however, said he did not believe in stopping flow of fund to the state government and consider such a move as an extreme step. “I think stopping money is not right, because it will hurt people, the poor will be hurt. So we have to work with the state governments and local bodies to put in place a system for accountability,” he said.

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