Wednesday, June 7, 2023

CAG report flags anomalies in various state govt departments

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which was tabled on the last day of the first session of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA), detected financial anomalies in various departments.
DBT: The report flagged the poor Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) achievement in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
It stated that the overall achievement of DBT in MGNREGS as of March 2020 was only 11.60%, while the objective of DBT was not achieved in the State as 88.40% of job card holders were paid through an intermediary level Village Development Board mainly due to non-availability of banking facilities.
Further, the mission mode approach of the State Government/implementing department for full implementation of DBT in MGNREGS failed as no timeline was fixed to complete the exercise, while delayed release of funds to the implementing departments and payments to ineligible beneficiaries were noticed under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U).
PHED: The report stated that PHED (Urban) Dimapur division executive engineer did not exercise due diligence to check the correctness of quantities executed before passing the bills for payment, which resulted in fraudulent payment of Rs 90.54 lakh without actual execution of 2,338 metres of drainage works in 18 villages.
The PHED made excess payment of Rs 1.23 crore to the contractor by allowing higher rate over the State government-approved rate for construction of community sanitary complex and deviated from the approved action plans and specification during actual implementation.
Municipal Affairs: As per the report, Dimapur Municipal Council administrator did not take any step to monitor and cross verify the actual quantities of railway wagons that transported cement from the goods office, Dimapur railway station, for which Rs 30.07 lakh toll was not collected and resulted in short collection of revenue.
Horticulture Dept: A performance audit on Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture was conducted from September 2019 to April 2021, covering the period from 2014 to 2020.
It was found that annual action plans were prepared without conducting base line survey, seed/ planting material sub-plan and district-wise sub-plans, planting materials for Rs 14.72 crore were procured from non-accredited nurseries/local suppliers, 400 out of 841 beneficiaries reported short-receipt of planting materials and inadmissible advance payment of Rs 10.62 crore was made to suppliers. The department also paid Rs 12.14 crore to the contractors without actual execution of works.
Centre of Excellence constructed at a cost of Rs 5 crore in Yisemyong, Mokokchung was leased out to a private firm, while Rs 5 crore released for creation of three Centres of Excellence (Phek, Tuensang and Dimapur) was diverted without the Central government’s approval. Inadmissible assistance of Rs 11.44 crore was extended to the beneficiaries under Post Harvest Management.
Planning & Coordination: The CAG noticed deficiencies in assessment of infrastructural needs and lack of proper planning of projects by the State government. Concept Notes did not contain detailed analysis of existing facilities (gap analysis) in the sector and full justification for retention of the particular project.
Two projects retained at a cost of Rs 48.85 crore were not sanctioned by Ministry of DoNER due to duplication with existing facilities, preparation of unrealistic estimates, delay in submission of revised estimates, etc. There were instances of short release of funds by State government and submission of false utilisation certificates (UCs) to Ministry of DoNER. Irregular diversion/deduction of Rs 1.96 crore towards VAT/WCT, departmental charges, procurement of vehicle, etc, were noticed.
The implementing departments made payment of Rs 2.92 crore to the contractors without actual execution of works and incurred avoidable expenditure of Rs 5.58 crore due to procurement of materials at exorbitant rates.
Monitoring at the State level was inadequate, no evaluation studies were conducted, data relating to progress of projects was not uploaded in MIS portal, etc. Despite being pointed out in the CAG report and the recommendations of Public Accounts Committee of the State Legislature, the nodal as well as implementing departments did not take necessary corrective measures.
Finance (Taxation): On the issue of processing of refund claims under Goods and Services Tax, the report stated that the department did not adhere to the prescribed timelines leading to instances of delay in issuing of refund orders and communicating refund orders to counterpart tax authority. Further, lack of proper scrutiny of refund claims by the jurisdictional officers led to irregular allowance of refund in certain cases.
Systematic issues such as deficiency in record keeping at the level of proper officers/divisions to capture the full details of refund claims were noticed. Periodic reports were not forwarded to the commissioner by the POs resulting in lack of effective monitoring.

Finance (Treasuries & Accounts): Lack of planning and proper monitoring mechanism with regard to procurement and supply of stamp duty materials resulted in accumulation of Rs 20.77 crore stamp duty material. No stock verification was conducted to confirm the actual physical availability of these materials.
Investments in PSUs: As on September 30, 2020, five working PSUs had 21 years’ arrears of accounts ranging from one to 10 years. During 2019-20, two PSUs finalised two accounts, while one PSU had not finalised any annual accounts after 2013-14.
The losses of working PSUs increased by 130% in 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19 mainly due to deterioration in the operational results of the PSUs. The overall losses of working PSUs were basically due to less turnover from their operations.


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