The government on Tuesday expressed shock over reports of embezzlement of UK grants in Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme and said that the flagship programme follows "rigorous and robust monitoring system".
A day after the British government launched an inquiry into the alleged misuse of its funds under SSA, Department of School Education and Literacy under HRD Ministry here said it will write to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of External Affairs in this regard.
Britain's International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell had yesterday said the UK Government will have a zero tolerance policy to corruption.
The Department of School Education and Literacy said the SSA is supported largely by domestic resources. Since inception, the Government of India and state governments have invested Rs 91,431 crore in the SSA.
SSA was partially funded by Development Partners like World Bank, DFID and EU to the tune of Rs 4700 crore from 2004-05 to 2006-07 and Rs 4330 crore from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
"Since inception DFID has reimbursed Rs 2500 crore, which represents 2.7 per cent of the total investment under SSA," it said in a press statement.
A report in the 'The News of the World' had quoted India's Auditor General as saying that almost 14 million pounds had been spent on items and luxuries that had nothing to do with schools.
The HRD Ministry's statement said expenditure under SSA is incurred as per well defined norms. Up to six per cent of SSA funds can be spent on office expenses and management such as office equipment, salary and fee of resource persons, rentals for office space and vehicles, it said.
The statement said SSA follows a rigorous and robust monitoring system, which includes concurrent financial review by independent agency, annual statutory audit by chartered accountants, internal audit by states, quarterly review meetings with financial controllers and periodic performance audit by C&AG.
Besides, SSA has a system of bi-annual joint review missions in which the development partners participate. DFID has been an active participant in all the JRMs.
"The last JRM was held in January 2010. The JRM observed with appreciation the continued progress made towards SSA goals since the last mission submitted its report," it said quoting the mission's report.
SSA works on the basic principle of self disclosure and transparency. All cases of deviations from guidelines are dealt with severely. The States themselves have conducted enquiries and lodged FIRs besides special audits commissioned by the Centre. Appropriate disciplinary action has also been initiated, where necessary, the statement said.