Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Misuse or misutilisation of funds

A huge chunk of the state’s annual budget under Non-Plan (which works out to around 80%) goes towards salaries, pensions and interest payments on loans, leaving practically little for expansion of services in the state, according to the CAG report ending March 31,2007.
Nagaland’s spending machine is practically reliant on money (fuel) through Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), which account for the biggest share of the expenditure in the state on projects and schemes.
According to sources, with the state’s demand for funds rising and reports of improper implementation of projects under CSS, the central government ministries have begun to turn attention to proposals from the state.
It was reported, that the central government, concerned over misutilisation (or even misappropriation) of funds, has asked for utilization certificate of CSS funded projects as well as breakup of expenditure on such projects. A case in point was the expenditure of Rs.3.10 crore made during 1993-95 for laminated photo identity cards but which never saw the light of day.
According to sources, even then, the cost per photo identity card as approved in Nagaland was the highest in India at around Rs.60 per PIC .It was reported that in Delhi the cost was just Rs.8 per PIC and the next highest was Rs.20 per PIC. The difference was those states had completed the entire process while in Nagaland, it is nowhere to be seen.
According to the CAG report, Election department has spent Rs.52.39 lakh for creating a system for electoral rolls and other related works, but till date, the department’s software system was unable to synchronise between E-rolls and electronic photo identity cards.
According to some sources, CSS projects have become the only means of obtaining money from the centre under several ministries. Hundreds of crores of rupees in several departments have been misutilised, sources alleged.
In a particular department, it was reported that a few crore rupees remain untraced and which has adversely affected payment of works already completed.
According to the reports, after misusing or siphoning off cash, certain department functionaries created a system where part payments for previous works were released from funds of new projects.
The chain was broken after it was discovered that a huge amount of cash was unaccounted. The sources said it would take more than an Einstein to solve the arithmetic.
Some departments handling CSS projects funds, willfully failed to conduct monthly inspection of the accounts as a result of which, funds were palmed off by those responsible for maintaining the system.
It was reported that the cash and accounting system in such departments handling CSS scheme-funds left much to be desired.
Funds were often deducted arbitrarily under dubious pleas, which were allegedly done to give the share from “top- to- down”.

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