New Delhi: Witnessing the escalating corruption and irregularities in the schemes of the Rural Development Ministry, the Central Government has decided to conduct the scrutiny of all the schemes operating in 12 major states for the rural development by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

While talking to the reporters, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the decision has come in a bid to bring transparency and sense of accountability in these programmes.

“After Defence Ministry, the Rural Development Ministry receives highest share of budget with Rs 88, 000 crore to run such schemes”, he said adding “It is really important to have CAG audit in the Ministry schemes for ensuring accountability and transparency.

Acclaiming CAG as a constitutional body, Ramesh said the Accountant Generals in different states will be empowered to carry out the audit of Ministry’s expenditure for various schemes including MNREGA.

The CAG can conduct not only financial audits, but can also scrutinize the performance of these schemes.
The states where the schemes will come under CAG audit includes Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. “Among the 12 states selected for the CAG audits, five has the Congress or its alliance government”, Ramesh said.

The CAG will also monitor the performance of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA) in these states.  Earlier Ramesh had demanded CBI probe from the Uttar Pradesh government observing huge irregularities in the MNREGA scheme. However, the demand was denied by UP Chief Minister Mayawati.

Along with the Rural Development Ministry schemes, the programmes run by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in rural belts will also undergo CAG audits.

JPN/Bureau