Wednesday, April 11, 2012

CAG findings just tip of iceberg

Govt promoting financial irregularities’
 Govt played fraud with institution of Legislature: Baig

Accusing the State Government of facilitating continuation of serious financial irregularities, former Deputy Chief Minister and senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, today said that Government has played fraud with the institution of legislature by tabling on last day of the Budget Session the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which has brought to fore massive frauds, misappropriation of funds, unauthorized, unfruitful and unproductive expenditure of several crores of rupees.

Talking to media-persons at party office here this evening, Mr Baig said, "there was political purpose behind tabling of the CAG report on last day of the Budget Session as CAG has completely exposed the National Conference-led Government for facilitating serious financial irregularities and allowing the defaulting officers to go scot free".

"As per the parliamentary practice, the audit reports are tabled on the Floor of the House for discussion on the same and take corrective steps based on the outcome of such discussion but by intentionally delaying the tabling of the report the National Conference-led Government has defeated the very objective behind audits of the functioning of the Government departments", he said.

Stating that Government has played fraud with the institution of legislature, he said, "by denying the opportunity of discussion on the findings of the CAG the Government has tried to render the Legislative Assembly and Council ineffective and disabled", he said, adding "the discussion on the CAG report was imperative as it has made startling revelations about fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, excess payment/ wasteful expenditure and diversion of funds".

Terming the CAG findings as just tip of an iceberg, the former Deputy Chief Minister said, "if such glaring financial irregularities can be detected in the sample survey of some works in 8-10 departments what could be the state of affairs in all the departments, can easily be presumed", adding "had the report been tabled just at the beginning of the Budget Session we would have completely exposed the Government during the discussion on Budget as well as grants of different departments but unfortunately the Government had denied this opportunity to the Opposition, which otherwise would have been of immense benefit in checking the financial irregularities in future".

Picking up some startling figures from the CAG report, Mr Baig said that in 2010-2011 an amount to the tune of Rs 9010.80 crore was available with the Government as Capital Expenditure but it could not spend Rs 2289.77 crore despite the fact that percentage of capital expenditure indicates economic growth. Similarly, an expenditure of Rs 31288.58 crore was registered against total original and supplementary grants of Rs 28920.27 crore thereby registering excess expenditure of Rs 2368.11 crore. 

Stating that Government was spending more on non-productive sector than the productive sector that too without seeking permission from the Assembly, he said that in 2009-10 the Plan expenditure was to the tune of Rs 6688 crore but in 2010-11 the same declined by Rs 49 crore to Rs 6639 crore. On the other side, Non-Plan expenditure increased to Rs 17892 crore in 2010-11 as against an amount of Rs 14870 in 2009-10.

"This shows decline in development activities with a sharp rise in non-development expenditure", he said, adding "the reasons for this shortage in the development expenditure have not been explained by the State Government to the CAG".

"The excuse of the Government that revenue expenditure registered steep rise because of 6th Pay Commission appears to be false because the projected wages and salaries for 2010-11 were Rs 13173 crore whereas actually it was only Rs 7772 crore", he said, adding "the Government is answerable to the people as to why it has not utilized Rs 6000 crore to pay the arrears to the employees or to clear the loans it had taken". 

"Such an amount could have even been utilized to provide employment to two lakh people at least for 3-4 years", he added.

Pointing towards under-spending to the tune of Rs 3762.45 crore in 12 grants in 2010-11, he said, "the functioning of the Finance Department can be gauged from the fact that it has failed to spend Rs 367.60 crore under Revenue Component and Rs 387.82 crore under Capital Component", adding "similar is the fate of another vital department—Planning and Development, which has failed to spend Rs 679.61 crore under Capital Component".

About the CAG’s startling revelations viz-a-viz the rush of expenditure during the month of March", he said, "it is not understandable as to how an expenditure ranging between 51 per cent to 77 per cent can be registered in one month only", adding "the CAG findings have also proved wrong the tall claims of the Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather about tax realization".

Mr Baig also expressed concern over how the Government got constitutional amendment bill pertaining to reservation to SCs/STs/OBCs introduced and passed on the last day of the Budget Session. "We were not against the reservation to these sections of society. Had there been discussion we would have stressed for extension of same for 20 years", he said.

About the report of House Committee on sanctioning and upgradation of health centers, he said, "the report has brought to fore how the Ministries used influence for providing benefits to selective constituencies at the cost of deserving ones".

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