The Hindu: Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010
U.K. probe into charges of misuse of aid by India by Hasan Suroor
£14 million spent on items that had nothing to do with education.
LONDON: In an embarrassing development for New Delhi, the British government has ordered an inquiry into allegations of misuse of millions of pounds given to India in aid to educate poor children.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell described the allegations as “shocking” and said he had launched an “immediate inquiry”.
He also said that all “country programmes” were being reviewed to make sure that money was reaching the people it was intended for.
“These are shocking allegations and I have launched an immediate inquiry to ensure British aid money has not been misused,” he was reported as saying. .
He said had ordered a review of “every single one of the Department for International Development's country programmes to ensure we are giving aid to where it's most needed — to help the world's poorest people”.
Mr. Mitchell's strong reaction followed a report in the News of the World that £70 million of British aid earmarked for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan project — a scheme to educate poor children — had “vanished”.
“Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money sent to India to educate poor children is falling into the pockets of crooked officials in the country,” the newspaper said claiming that according to a report by the Auditor-General almost £14 million had been spent on items that had nothing to do with education.
Aid money, it alleged, was used to buy air-conditioners, luxury beds and colour television sets even though many of the schools which were supposed to benefit from these items were in areas where there was no electricity.
It said, according to a report by the Human Resources Development Ministry, “cash has been snaffled by officials running the massive scheme”.
India is the single largest recipient of U.K. overseas aid and received an estimated £1 billion between 2003 and 2008.
U.K. probe into charges of misuse of aid by India
Comments: The reasons are obvious. Most of the Aid agencies including WB operations are headed by a bunch of "educated" bureaucrats/ politicians children/ relatives/ friends and not by professionals! The money therefore vanishes into thin air creating a false illusion... this news is nothing new for the Indian Public!
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