Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday asserted that the e-tendering system started by his government in Panchayati Raj Institutions is to bring more transparency in development works.
He said transparency in all spheres of governance is part of his government's policy of zero-tolerance towards corruption.
"With this system, we have empowered urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). The duty of panchayats is to ensure smooth execution of development work, while providing timely funds for the same is our job," Khattar said.
The chief minister was replying to the Governor's address here this evening during the ongoing Budget Session of the Haryana assembly.
Several sarpanches in the state have been protesting the introduction of e-tendering for execution of development works in rural areas.
During his reply on various issues raised by legislators during the debate on the Governor's address, Khattar and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda shared couplets and had a bit of banter.
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In one such instance when Hooda looked at his watch, the chief minister asked him whether he had a flight to catch and was getting late.
Chief Minister Khattar said he has always been in favour of healthy criticism by the opposition, but it should not be merely for the sake of opposing.
Khattar, who has in the recent past contested the state debt figures mentioned before the media by Hooda, on Wednesday told the senior Congress leader in the assembly to disclose the source of his claims.
Hooda claimed that the state debt, including liabilities, stood at Rs 3.19 lakh crore.
"I am saying on the floor of the House that with liabilities, you will now soon cross Rs 3.5 lakh crore debt," the Congress member said.
Khattar said Hooda's figures were not right and added, "we know that our debt is within permissible limits".
When the chief minister insisted that Hooda should disclose the source of the debt figure giving by him, the former chief minister quipped, "these are CAG figures".
After repeated demands by Khattar that he disclose the source, Hooda handed the chief minister the paper from which he was reading.
Khattar said he will give the paper to his finance secretary to find out which figures Hooda was quoting.
"The document has been placed on record. There is a system that I have to verify this document, from which you are making the claims," said the chief minister.
Hooda replied that he had given the document to the chief minister and not to be handed over to the finance secretary. He demanded that it be given back to him and in a lighter vein said he will not allow Khattar to leave.
The chief minister said the quality assurance authority has been formed to curb corruption in construction works, ensuring transparency and accountability in government projects.
He said eradicating corruption from its roots is no less than a 'junoon (passion)' for him and following this passion his government has taken several radical IT reforms.
The chief minister said that as much human interface is minimised, corruption will be checked. "That is why we have started portals and digitised various services," he said.
Through the DBT system, be it farmers, scholarships for eligible students or old age pension, things have been made completely transparent, he said.
Lakhs of ghost beneficiaries have been eliminated and thus, Rs 1,150 crore of the state exchequer has been saved, he said, referring to digitalisation of various services.
The chief minister said that Haryana ranks sixth in 19 big states of the country in the Social Progress Index (SPI) report released by the NITI Aayog.
On a matter raised by a member, Khattar clarified that government school students who have been given computer tablets free of cost will have to submit these to the school's management at the time of taking the school living certificate and not before that.
Calling the Parivar Pehchan Patra (family-id) scheme his dream project, the chief minister said that the project aims to curb corruption by reducing human interface.
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