A day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati brought the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) directly under the administrative control of the Chief Secretary, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi sent a strong political message when he walked into the NRHM office here on Wednesday and later visited the residence of the slain Chief Medical Officer (Family Welfare), B.P. Singh, in Gomti Nagar.
Dr. Singh's murder on April 2 and that of another CMO, V.K. Arya, last year have been linked to alleged financial bungling in the implementation of the NRHM in the State.
What caused consternation in government circles here was an application under the Right to Information Act filed by the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi about the misutilisation of Central funds allocated under the NRHM in the presence of Mr. Gandhi.
The RTI application has been addressed to the Public Information Officer, Ministry of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, government of Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Gandhi, who stopped at the NRHM office while returning from Rae Bareli, was accompanied by Ms. Bahuguna. His unscheduled visit took the government and the Lucknow administration by surprise.
In an informal chat with journalists, the Congress general secretary and Amethi MP expressed concern over the misutilisation of Central funds in Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Gandhi said that with the RTI application filed by the UPCC president, an attempt had been made to know the actual position regarding the utilisation of Central funds.
The RTI application contains 10 queries, including data on the allocation for all items under the NRHM from 2005-06 to 2009-10; district-wise and component-wise information on the total amount released under NRHM from 2005-06 to 2009-10 and the total amount of expenditure incurred from 2005-06 to 2009-10. Information has also been sought on district-wise expenditure under the Janni Suraksha Yojana in the last five financial years — 2005-06 to 2009-10 — and the release and expenditure on drug procurement under the Rural Health Scheme from 2005-06 to 2009-10.
Information sought about the implementation of Janni Suraksha Yojana under NRHM formed the core of the RTI application.
Release and expenditures on untied grants to village health and sanitation committees from 2005-06 to 2009-10 and guidelines for the use of Rugna Kalyan Samiti corpus funds are among the other queries in the Congress application.
From the NRHM office, the Congress general secretary paid to a visit to Dr. B.P. Singh's residence and offered his condolences to the bereaved family before leaving for Delhi.