NATIONAL

Ramesh to review Centre's flagship schemes in 12 M.P. districts

aiming high:Union Minister Jairam Ramesh with AICC general secretary Vilas Muttemvar striking a pose with bows and arrows presented to them by Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kantilal Bhuria (left) during a party programme in Bhopal on Sunday.– PHOTO: A.M. Faruqui  

Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh will be touring 12 backward districts in Madhya Pradesh over the next four months to review the working of the flagship schemes of the Central government.

Speaking at a State-level party program here, Mr. Ramesh assured leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Ajay Singh that he would personally tour districts such as Jhabua and Sidhi among others to review the working of the flagship schemes.

Mr. Ramesh was speaking at a State-level Congress programme to train party workers to ensure better awareness and implementation of Centrally-sponsored schemes

The Minister, in a subsequent interaction with journalists, denied any discrimination in allocation of funds to States such as Madhya Pradesh by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).

‘Priority list'

In fact, Madhya Pradesh, along with other backward States such as Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and the North-Eastern States, were on the MoRD's priority list, Mr. Ramesh told reporters here on Sunday.

The Minister said M.P. would receive Rs.7,500 crore — out of the MoRD's total outlay of about Rs.99,000 crore — under various schemes along with a special allocation of Rs. 30 crore for the State's eight Left Wing Extremism affected districts under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP).

Expressing concern over rising incidence of corruption in Centrally-sponsored schemes, especially the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Mr. Ramesh said he had asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to conduct audits of fund allocations to the Ministry, especially grants to the MGNREGS.

However, he said the Central government could do so much only due to the country's federal structure and it was the duty of the State governments concerned to act on the issues brought to their notice by the MoRD.