New Delhi: Observing the unabated irregularities and scams at the panchayati raj level, the Centre has decided to tighten the noose around the corrupt panchayat members.

Making a maiden move in this direction, the government is going to audit the funds allocated to the gram panchayats for the developmental projects in the village by a panel of chartered accountants.

The decision to this effect has been taken jointly by the Ministry of Rural Development and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

While talking to Dainik Jagran, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said, “Irregularities of larger intensity have been reported from the panchayat levels. The central funds granted for carrying several developmental projects are being used by the corrupt panchayat officials for filling their coffers. This is not acceptable. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty in the report.

“Due to the lackadaisical approach of the states at the panchayat level, corruption is increasing day-by-day. With the help of this crucial measure, corruption is likely to be checked manifold,” he said.

Under the new step, the CAG will appoint panel of CAs in every district across the nation who will audit the expenses done by gram panchayats. The CAG will issue certificate to the one who comes clean in his financial transactions and has not misused the central funds.

The certificate will be key to get the next allocation of funds from the Centre.

Strict action will be taken against those found guilty and the next installment of funds will also be stopped by the Central government. In case any CA is found preparing manipulated reports, then the licence of the concerned CA will be cancelled.