Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on sunday admitted "leakage" of funds earmarked for development works, but said it was "not as big" as was mentioned by Rajiv Gandhi.
"Leakage of funds earmarked for development does exist. But, I do not admit that these leakages are as big as was mentioned by Rajivji," Singh reporters in Mumbai.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, during a visit to drought-affected Kalahandi district in Orissa in 1985, had said, "Of every rupee spent by the government, only 17 paise reached the intended beneficiary." The remark had triggered a controversy.
Singh said, "I think, particularly in areas such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), there are provisions which will help over a period of time to curb the leakages."
"I sincerely hope that in years to come, the Right to Information Act (RTI) will act as a powerful device to ensure that the leakages are curbed," he said.
Last year, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that even five paise of a rupee spent by the Centre are not reaching the intended beneficiaries.
"I remember my father had once said that only 17 paise out of a rupee reach people. Now the situation is even worse," Gandhi had said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh. PTI