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CAG raps Delhi govt for social welfare schemes, financial irregularities worth Rs 19000 crore

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24TH_NEW_CAG_1465473fBy NewsGram Staff Writer

There were various irregularities on the part of Delhi government in implementing social welfare schemes, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out in its latest report.

“There is evidence to show that grants worth nearly Rs 6,000 crore given by it were not utilized for the intended purpose even 10 years or more after the amounts were given”, the report made the shocking disclosure.

“48 per cent of UCs amounting to Rs 5,651 crore were due for more than 10 years,” the report pointed out.

Under government rules, the UCs have to be compulsorily obtained by the department giving the grant from the agency receiving the grant.

This is done to ensure that the grant is used for the designated purpose and conditions attached to the grant are complied with.

Without the certificate, the government does not really have the proof that its money has been spent as intended.

According to the CAG report, the major defaulter was the urban development department accounting for Rs 17,416 crore or 91 per cent of the amount for which certificates were outstanding.

The erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board did not furnish certificates of grants received from the department.

“Utilization certificates for grants received from the department have also not been furnished by the land and building department of DDA”, the report noted.

In order to improve the situation, the CAG ordered the state government to strengthen the internal control mechanism of the government departments.

“Watch timely submission of utilization certificates and release further grants only after receipt of utilization certificates of earlier grants”, the report recommended.

Apart from the missing utilization certificates, the CAG also highlighted other financial irregularities.

As on March 31, 2014, large balances amounting to Rs 1,151.65 crore were outstanding under “suspense heads”.

The CAG explained that Delhi government had no separate public account to account for “ suspense heads” and that such transactions were carried out under the “Account of the Union Government”.

“The transactions are recorded initially under the ‘suspense heads’ which are required to be reviewed at short intervals so as to ensure that no item remains unadjusted longer than is reasonably necessary,” the CAG noted.

Therefore, large amounts lying in suspense heads means nobody is quite sure which head of accounts they fit into, adding opacity to the accounts.

The major portion of the outstanding amount under the head “cash settlement suspense account” pertains to the ministry of road transport and highways and to Delhi Police.

All such transactions are ultimately cleared either by payment of recovery in cash or by book adjustment.

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)