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UPA stands exposed

UPA stands exposed

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/158604/UPA-stands-exposed.html

CAG report trashes flagship schemes

A report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General released last Friday has brought to light the dismal performance of the UPA Government's Bharat Nirman and other flagship schemes. The report- and others before it -indicates that the Government has not lived up to its commitment to the 'aam admi' with none of its pro-poor plans having been properly implemented, and with the money for the same having been wrongly utilised, wasted or missing. The UPA had put together a programme that promised much but now it seems that this Government was never serious about its promises and has taken the people for a ride. Though rural infrastructure is critically important for the development of the country and for the removal of poverty, it has been subject to gross neglect in the past five years. This is confirmed by the CAG report. Bharat Nirman was supposed to be a comprehensive programme to extend electricity, roads, telephones, houses and water to villages. The CAG has noted that over Rs 51,000 crore was allocated for the flagship scheme in 2007-08 and transferred to the bank accounts of NGOs, autonomous bodies and district authorities. But it says that this money has remained unspent in most cases in the accounts of these agencies. Plus, since this money was never kept in Government accounts, what happened to it cannot be easily determined. Nothing could be more shocking. This completely flies in the face of the tall claims that have been made by the Government about the achievements under the Bharat Nirman programme, when in reality performance has been so sluggish that much less than 50 per cent of the targets set have been achieved, and in some cases this performance has been below six per cent. This is an immense setback to the development goals that the nation had set for itself.

The CAG report has also pointed out that the Social and Infrastructure Development Fund was diverted to unspecified programmes, and was spent as grants to various cultural organisations. Of the Rs 20,000 crore collected between 2003 and 2008 for subsidising rural telephony, only Rs 6,000 crore was spent and the remaining amount is missing. The CAG has also noted the failure of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and reports that barely 3.2 per cent of the registered households could benefit from the welfare programme. On top of this it has pointed to corruption, inefficiency and diversion and misutilisation of funds under the scheme. Neither have proper books been maintained. Thus, the UPA Government has failed with regard to the most important commitments it had made to the common man, and therefore, the people must not hesitate to throw out this corrupt and inefficient Government.

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