THE STATE Government, it seems, got into a tizzy after Congress president Sonia Gandhi sought an explanation from Mulayam Singh Yadav government on the misuse of Central funds.
Sonia Gandhi’s demand for explanation is likely to intensify the ongoing verbal duel between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party(SP) leaders. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had already indicated that he, too, would launch a counter offensive.
“Dilli ki wo ek tarah se maalkin khud hain... aur unko aisa bolnaa nahin chahiye thaa...ab kahin par mujhey shaayad phir bolnaa pad jaaye,” said the Chief Minister while replying to a question here on Friday.
Significantly, this was not for the first time that the Congress and the SP leaders had come face to face on any such issue. Besides accusing the Centre for not sanctioning a special package for UP, the Chief Minister has often targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not giving additional funds to the State for disbursement of unemployment allowance. “Aap jaantey hain.. ki kendra sarkaar ne kaha hum is par koi kharcha nahi karenge.. berozgaari bhattey ki.. is tarah ki humaari koi neeti nhai hai,” the Chief Minister said.
Rahul Gandhi’s assertions that Mulayam government’s decision to disburse unemployment allowance was an election gimmick and that the youth needed jobs and not unemployment allowance had already put a question mark on the popularity of the scheme. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Salman Khurshid had called unemployment allowance as booth-capturing allowance.
So the battle of wits over the use of Central funds and disbursement of unemployment allowance is likely to intensify. Besides Chief Minister, senior officers of the State Government have come forward to counter the charges of funds misuse.
The Congress’ assertions that a large chunk of Central funds were being allocated sparked counter reaction from the official circles here.
Officers even started finding faults with the Centre for what they called delay in clearing the State Government’s proposals to implement the scheme.
Principal secretary rural development KK Sinha even pointed out that the Centre was yet to clear the State Government’s proposal to increase administrative expenses being incurred on implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The Centre has allowed the use of 2 per cent of NREGS funds to meet administrative expenses, he said.
The State Government had sent the proposal to increase the amount to meet the expenses on the salary of additional staff being deployed to implement NREGS. Officers pointed out that the Centre was yet to clear the demand of Rs 160 crore needed to implement the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana, he said.
Another officer pointed out that the State Government was awaiting the Centre’s response to the demand of Rs 1500 crore for implementation of Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. Besides a sum of Rs 8000 crore under various other heads, the State was getting about Rs 21,000 crore per annum as its share in central taxes, he said.
This was no favour and the State was entitled to get these funds, he added.