Himachal Pradesh – a state that exudes sheer beauty – does not know its industrial potential, including availability of human resource, revealed a recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
India’s official auditor said that there is no instrument in place to check the industrial turnover, value of output and profitability to see whether these are in proportion to the burden of tax concessions and subsidies on the public exchequer.
The report blamed the state industries department for not conducting survey to determine the actual new investments brought in and scope of value addition in manufacturing by the units from 2003 to 2010 when central government’s special industrial package was on board.
The report also reflected that the industrial growth of the state is not in proportion to the growth of the gross state domestic product (GSDP).
The total input to GSDP during 2009-14 by 5,611 registered manufacturing units was Rs. 54,367 crore whilst the total fiscal load of tax concessions and subsidies on the central and state exchequer was Rs. 35,606 crore, including Rs. 35,411 crore of the Centre.
Employment generation in the state also witnessed a decreasing trend, which plunged to 6,014 during 2013-14 from 13,704 during 2009-10.
The director of industries reverted to the auditor and stated that the state has difficult geographical and topographical conditions.
CAG also found defects in the establishment of a sewage treatment plant in the state’s major industrial belts Baddi and Barotiwala in the Solan district.
The work of the common effluent plant was not completed until last November due to the delay in environment clearance from the minister of environment and forests. The delay in the work shot up the estimated cost of the plant to Rs.60.95 crore from Rs.53.80 crore.
It was also told by the auditor that widening and strengthening of road was not completed in Baddi and Barotiwala until last November owing to non-completion of formalities. Amount of Rs. 13.74 crore has already been spent on it.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)