Mumbai: The CAG has passed stringent strictures against the erstwhile state government led by Devendra Fadnavis for its failure to submit utilisation certificates for grants worth Rs 65,921 crore, prolonged delay in completion of irrigation projects and inability to close or revive sick state-run understandings, resulting in accumulated losses of Rs 49,192 crore.
NCP president Sharad Pawar demanded a high-level probe into the departments which failed to submit utilization certificate within the stipulated period and financial indiscipline, while finance and planning minister Jayant Patil said offences will be registered against erring officials for dereliction of duty.
In its report on finances of the state government tabled in both the houses of the state legislature on Friday, the CAG submitted that the Bombay Financial Rules, 1959, provide that for grants received during a year for specific purpose, utilization certificate should be obtained by the departmental officers from the grantee institution and it should be forwarded to the accountant general office within 12 months from the date of their sanction. CAG found that 32,570 utilization certificates aggregating to Rs 65,921.35 crore in respect of grants released between 2015 to 2018 were not submitted to the accountant general’s office.
The majority cases of non-submission of UCs related to the urban development (46 per cent), school education and sports and planning (eight per cent each), public health (seven), tribal development (six), industries and rural development (five each) and dairy development (four per cent). Non submission of UCs defeats the very purpose of legislative control over the public purse and is fraught with the risk of the funds released for various scheme/ programmes being locked up or diverted.
“Non submission of UCs indicated lack of proper monitoring by the department in utilization of grants sanctioned for specific purposes. Further, there was no assurance that the money was actually incurred during the financial year for the purpose for which it was sanctioned/ authorized by legislature. High pendency of UCs was fraught with the risk of misappropriation of funds and fraud,” the CAG observed.
On the prolonged delay in execution of irrigation projects, the CAG pointed out that it invites the risk of escalation in the cost of the works, besides, due to delay in completion of projects, the intended benefits from those projects did not reach the beneficiaries. It was found that 67 projects were delayed for more than 30 years, 75 by 20 to 30 years, 56 by15 to 20 years, 69 by 10 to 15 years, 131 by five to 10 years, two by up to five years and in 12 cases, work is yet to start.
Source: Economic Times