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Government not against CAG audit of relief funds: Jadeja

Written by: Staff
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Ahmedabad, Aug 27:  The ruling BJP today said that the Congress has ''exhibited its ignorance'' in flaying the state government over auditing of funds meant for calamity relief.

In an official statement, state ministers I K Jadeja and Saurabh Patel said that all the relief provided during the time of calamity -- be it cash doles, household insurance, housing assistance, or temporary restoration and relief -- were provided from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, which is with the government and is audited by the CAG only. All donations given to CM's Relief Fund are deposited in the same fund which is administered by the revenue department. No changes have been made in the procedures of the revenue department, they said in the the statement.

Congress Party spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil had said yesterday that Sections 36 (3) and 36 (4) had been inserted in the Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, whereby auditing need not be done by CAG but by a private auditor appointed by the state Government. ''This would only lead to corruption. The CAG is a constitutional authority and has a right to audit. The aid is meant for providing humanitarian relief to the flood affected and should not be misused,'' Mr Gohil said.

The donations given by private persons and institutions for earthquake rehabilitation is kept in a separate fund called Reconstruction and Rehabiliation fund and the same is subject to audit by CAG, the ministers clarified. The reference to the two GSDMA acts by the GPCC is inappropriate and is only related to loans from World Bank and Asian Development Bank for rehabilitation. As the audit requirements of these funding agencies are different and has to be done under a strict time frame, the audit is allotted to an auditor appointed by the governing body, with the approval of WB and ADB, as per the requirements and terms of reference of these institutions. This does not stop the CAG, which has the prerogative, to audit the same, they said.

They pointed out that no relief money was routed through GSDMA and in the current disaster, no money whatsoever has been placed with it. The allegations of the Congress that all the donations for flood relief are kept in such a way to evade CAG audit is a ''deliberate attempt'' to misguide people of the state, they said, asking it to prove that relief funds have been exempted from statutory audit of CAG and the government has taken steps to evade CAG audit.

UNI

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