Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday all expenditure related to uplift in villages would be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
The details of rural development expenditure will be announced next week.
Ramesh said the Centre spent approximately Rs 1,00,000 crore a year on rural development in the country.
“We need accountability and transparency in expenditure (out of) the rural development fund. All rural development expenditure will now be audited by the CAG,” said Ramesh.
The minister said people had every right to demand accountability and transparency in spending and the utilisation of rural development funds.
“My philosophy is: be liberal in funding rural development but be ruthless in demanding accountability in spending.”
Expressing concern at the reportedly poor performance of many states on the Centre’s flagship programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Ramesh said the biggest problem in implementation was “delayed payment” to workers. This was because a majority of job cardholders had no account in post offices or banks, he added.
The scheme aims at providing work to a member of each rural household for 100 days a year. The budgetary allocation for this during 2011-12 is Rs 40,000 crore.
He said the rural development ministry was in touch with the Unique Identification Authority of India for providing biometric cards to job cardholders.
The CAG would appoint a special accounting general in parts of the country, he said.
“I will ask the CAG for a performance audit of the MGNREGS in 11 states. Irrespective of the political party in power, these 11 states will be subject to performance audit by the CAG,” Ramesh added.