CAG slams MPs for irregularities in area fundsMarch 18th, 2011 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Friday slammed the government and MPs for irregularities in implementation of the local area development scheme funds and called for a monitoring mechanism for financial discipline.
The nation’s auditors also asked the government to hold the district authorities for the projects accountable for irregularities such as taking up projects not permitted under the scheme.
The CAG’s observations and recommendations were made in a performance audit report submitted to parliament on the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) under the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.
“The scheme guidelines prohibited the execution of certain types of work such as construction of office and residential buildings of government departments and cooperative societies, all works benefiting commercial organisations, an individual or a family, works within the premises of religious institutions, works of renovation, repair and maintenance,” the CAG said.
“Yet, in 100 sampled districts of 29 states and union territories, an expenditure of Rs.73.76 crore was incurred on 2,340 such works during 2004-09,” the report for 2010-11 submitted to parliament said.
The MPLADS was introduced in December 1993 to enable MPs to identify small works of capital expenditure to meet local needs in their constituencies that would be fully spent by the centre.
Since 1998-99, each Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MP get Rs.2 crore each under MPLADS and Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee in the 2011-12 budget hiked the amount to Rs.5 crore.
The CAG report said between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the government had released Rs.7,245.95 crore and Rs.9,836.53 crore was available with district authorities, including opening balance of Rs.2,404.26 crore from previous years along with an interest of Rs.186.32 crore on unspent balances during 2004-09.
“Against this, an expenditure of Rs.8,048.53 crore had been incurred, leaving an unspent balance of Rs.1,788 crore on March 31, 2009,” it noted.
The CAG report said there were “weaknesses” in the process of sanction of works. It said in the sampled districts of eight states, the district authorities executed 700 works costing Rs.9.45 crore without receiving any recommendations from the MPs concerned.
In three states, the district authorities executed 150 works costing Rs.2.44 crore on the recommendation of the representatives of the MPs rather than the members themselves. In seven states, 10 district authorities sanctioned 260 works whose cost exceeded the cost indicated by the concerned MP by Rs.2.49 crore, the report said.
“The district authorities should be held accountable for taking up works that are permitted under the scheme,” the report concluded and asked for suitable action against the agencies responsible for incomplete or delayed works, especially in cases where non-completion had resulted in abandonment of the works.
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Tags: cag report, capital expenditure, comptroller and auditor general, cooperative societies, crore, development scheme, district authorities, finance minister, financial discipline, government departments, irregularities, Lok Sabha, member of parliament, performance audit report, rajya sabha, religious institutions, residential buildings, rs 8, scheme guidelines, union territories