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Sonia cautions ministers

india Updated: Jun 04, 2011 00:32 IST

“It is very easy to launch a programme but the real challenge is ensuring its right implementation,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Friday at the launch of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), a self-employment programme for rural areas.

On Wednesday, Gandhi, who is also National Advisory Council chairperson, had launched Janani-Shishu Suraksha (a mother-child care programme) in Mewat, Haryana.

The NRLM is the UPA government’s scheme to reduce poverty through rapid increase in the coverage of rural poor households under self-employment.

Gandhi said a financial institution would be set up to help self-help groups get credit on easy terms. “The finance ministry has earmarked R 500 crore for the institution.”

The word of caution, ostensibly for ministers, from Gandhi comes when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is reportedly preparing for another cabinet reshuffle soon following the one in January, when several senior ministers got new portfolios but no one was dropped. Of the four ministers on the dais on Friday, Vilasrao Deshmukh had been shifted from heavy industry to rural development, and CP Joshi from rural development to roads and transport.

Kumari Selja (housing and poverty alleviation), Mukul Wasnik (social justice and empowerment) and the three junior ministers Sachin Pilot, Pradeep Jain and Namo Narain Meena were also present.

With the central government facing several corruption allegations, Gandhi expressed her support for social audit of government schemes. “Social audit is important for all programmes and schemes of the government. It is very important to bring in people’s participation and pin accountability on the government authorities,” Gandhi said.

“We have the historic RTI Act to ensure transparency in government.”