Lack of clarity on central grants: Jairam Ramesh
By Express News Service - BANGALORE
24th June 2012 09:16 AM
Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the BJP government in Karnataka that keeps complaining about lack of central assistance is not submitting ‘utilisation report’ for grants released from his ministry.
Interacting with party workers here at the state Congress headquarters, the Minister said, “A weakness with the Karnataka government is that they submit only expenditure, and not utilisation and audit reports. How can we release more funds without those reports, and if we do that the CAG will come down on me. Something seems to be seriously wrong, but I do not want to make it a Centre-State issue.”
Giving details about central grants to various projects implemented by his ministry, Ramesh said during 2004-12 unprecedented amount of funds were released to all states, including Karnataka. “For drinking water, we released Rs 687 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 859 crore in 2012-13 to provide 40 litres of water to every individual in 60,000 habitations in the state. But only 30,000 of them were covered,” he said.
On the rural sanitation programme in Karnataka, he said that only 20 per cent of 5,631 gram panchayats in the state are Nirmal GPs, in which every family has a toilet.
“For Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana, Rs 3,200 crore has been released to connect all habitations with 500 or more people. We have also increased the target on upgrading rural roads from 10,200 km to 15,700 km. I am sympathetic to the demands of the state, but Centre is not running the programmes for Karnataka alone.”
The Minister said the Centre has recently decided to allocate 37,000 tonnes of rice and wheat to Karnataka. This will be in addition to 2.5 lakh tonnes of the foodgrains that would be released to BPL families.
On the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) programmes, Ramesh said, “It is incorrect to say that farm labourers are unavailable for agricultural activities due to NREGA as the programmes are taken up during non-agriculture season.”
‘Speak in one voice’
Alluding to the internal squabbles in the state Congress, Ramesh said, “You all should speak in one voice, which will convey the party’s message to people,” he said.
He asked state party leaders to launch an aggressive campaign demanding the government to release details on utilisation of central grants.
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