CAG Report Finds Financial Irregularities Worth Rs 1,179 Crore In 19 Ministries
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India initially tabled in the Lok Sabha on April 4, 2018 has revealed that there have been financial irregularities in 19 ministries under the Modi government, as concluded in their analyses of the financial documents leading up to March 2017, reported Jansatta.
The report shows 78 cases of such irregularities involving Rs. 1,179.16 crore covering 19 Ministries/Departments and Autonomous Bodies/Corporation under their administrative control relating to loss of non-tax revenues, non-recovery of dues, lapses in financial management, non-adherence to scheme guidelines/rules, idling of equipment, deficiencies in project management, mistakes in internal control, irregularities in pay and staff entitlements, avoidable payments etc.
Government facing revenue loss
What this means is that our government is facing a revenue loss of Rs 1179 crore as the 19 ministries mentioned in the report failed to follow the rules and guidelines laid out for them or indulged in unnecessary expenditures as discovered after analysing all the financial documents until March 2017.
The Ministry of Human Resource and Development was found to have the most irregularities, followed by Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The CAG report analysed the financial transactions under 74 civil grants relating to 46 Civil Ministries/Departments of the Union Government under the General, Social and Economic Services sectors and of autonomous bodies/corporations under their administrative jurisdiction, to find that the gross expenditure of these 46 civil ministries/departments increased by 38% from Rs 53,34,037 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 73,62,394 crore in 2016-17.
Why are they running behind?
The Ministry of External Affairs was found with a short revenue collection of Rs 74 crore due to many Missions/Posts in some countries not following the Ministry’s own rules and guidelines relating to the levying or revision of visa. Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Ministry of Shipping were found to have failed at collecting dues amounting to Rs 89 crore.
Lapses in financial management and the disregard of their rules in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Culture resulted in another loss of Rs 19 crore. For instance, the retention of funds in a savings bank account instead of investing in fixed deposit by Export Inspection Council of India, Kolkata, resulted in the loss of interest of Rs 13.76 crore.
A service provider overcharged courier fees from applicants for visas and other consular services to the extent of Rs 14.39 crore in violation of the agreement with the Mission and Posts in the USA.
31 projects under the HRD Ministry involving payment of a grant of Rs 26 crore remained incomplete even after long periods beyond the stipulated completion while two hostels created at the cost of Rs 2.3 crore remained unutilised for more than three years.
The National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, an Indian Council of Medical Research unit under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was reported to have equipment worth Rs 1.52 crore just lying idle, and material worth Rs 2.13 crore not used optimally in more than five years.
Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs failed to adequately plan for the CCTV surveillance project in high-security areas since February 2013, which resulted in the project remaining incomplete even after more than four years and an expenditure of Rs 42.94 crore.
Food Corporation of India under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution failed to exercise adherence to instructions relating to procurement of food grains and gunny bags and their movement and distribution, which led to a loss of Rs 632.58 crore.
Universities did not get grant
Financial irregularities including the ones related to abnormalities in pay and staff entitlements have been found in many schools and universities under the HRD Ministry, including Banaras Hindu University, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kolkata, IIT Mumbai, IIT Allahabad, Kendriya Vidyalaya in Sidhi, NIT Tiruchirappalli, Central University of Gujarat and IGNOU.
Entrustment of 49 works valuing Rs 138.41 crore by Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, to the Uttar Pradesh State Construction and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited without prioritising construction activities and ensuring availability of funds resulted in Rs 22.65 crore spent on six uncompleted works being rendered idle as on March 2017.
The report highlights and details many more irregularities in various organisations and institutions under our Union Ministries. Such irregularities have been seen in many previous governments as well. There needs to be an honest and transparent investigation into the negligence and corruption in our system.
The CAG of India is an authority under the Constitution of India which audits all the receipts and expenditure of the state and Union government, including the bodies or powers that are funded by our government.