U.K. doesn't intend to probe Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for corruption


Inquiry is only to ensure that DFID's control over aid funds is robust

The United Kingdom has told India that it does not propose to investigate the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme for alleged corruption vis-à-vis the grants provided by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).

Media reports

There were reports in the British media that the funds given for the flagship programme were being misused.

“Indeed, the SSA programme has long been considered amongst the most successful elementary education programmes anywhere in the world, and DFID is proud to support it,” the department said in a letter to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. The letter comes even as a high-power U.K. delegation is on a visit to India, with education high on its agenda.

Funding support

The controversy started following an article, published in the News of the World last month, that levelled serious charges against the SSA and in respect of utilisation of U.K. assistance.

India refuted the charges, saying expenditure was incurred in keeping with well-defined norms articulated in the SSA Framework for implementation and the Manual of Financial Management and Procurement.

The DFID provides only two per cent of the total expenditure on the SSA. Given the nature of the allegations, Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell asked for an inquiry.

“The principal purpose of this inquiry is to ensure that DFID's control over UK aid funds to SSA is robust — particularly to ensure that DFID's programme management and monitoring systems are applied effectively” and that funds were used for the intended purpose, the donor agency informed the HRD Ministry.

Audit department to oversee probe

The inquiry will be overseen by the DFID's Internal Audit Department working in India, in collaboration with an international audit firm that would look at the application of the DFID's systems within the Delhi office, apart from meeting officials of the Ministry.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 6:19:06 PM |

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