New Delhi: Government on Friday announced that the Comptroller and Auditor General will audit the fund allocations under the National Rural Health Mission in the wake of the multi-crore NRHM scam in Uttar Pradesh.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Lok Sabha that following irregularities found in UP and other states, the Centre had asked the CAG to audit the funds allocated under NRHM.

"The CAG has agreed to it...it will audit future allocations and let us see if it can audit the past records too," he said in reply to discussion on Demand for Grants for the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

Azad also announced that the NRHM scheme started seven years ago will continue for the next five years following an approval by the Union Cabinet on Thursday night. Referring to the scam, he said the magnitude of irregularities in UP was "according to its size" and similar irregularities have been reported from other states also.

Asserting that government will take stringent measures to check the problem, Azad said state governments as well as officials will have to account for each paisa spent under the scheme. The CAG does not audit funds spent by states under NRHM, but it has been done in the case of UP following the scam.

The minister said measures like statutory audit, model accounting handbook, and e-banking have been adopted during the last two years to streamline the system.  The House later passed the demand for grants of the Health Ministry by voice vote. The discussion on the ministry's demand for grants took place in the Lok Sabha for the first time since 1985, Azad said in his reply.

Admitting to irregularities in other centrally-sponsored schemes, Azad said despite states reporting up to 80 per cent vaccination among children, the mortality rate showed an
Upward trend leading to doubts about the scheme.

He said states were sending the percentage coverage of the scheme without providing details. But now the states have been asked to file details of the child's parents along with phone number which is cross checked by the Ministry.

Terming the poor record on the infant mortality rate as a "shame", he said out of 2.60 crore deliveries, 6.70 lakh children die within a week of their birth. He said malnutrition among children in 21st century was another matter of concern and suggested greater awareness at various levels to check malnutrition.

Referring to monitoring of certain schemes in the health sector, Azad said the Centre will soon set up committees which would be headed by MPs. On the issue of medical education, he said 40 new medical colleges have been established in the last two years even as MBBS seats have been increased considerably. He also said efforts were underway to have more doctors rained to cure cancer.

(Agencies)