A meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature on Monday recommended action against District Education Officers (DEOs) who were found lax in discharging their duties in the matter of usage of education cess.

The meeting presided by Nagam Janardhan Reddy of the Telugu Desam Party was reported to have detected irregularities on the part of DEOs of some districts in meeting the salary bill of government teachers without including the education cess component.

As a result, the entire bill was paid out of government funds, official sources said.

Local bodies collect two per cent education cess on property tax from citizens and remit the same to the government. But the meeting found that some municipalities and gram panchayats did not transfer the amount to government treasury and instead used it for themselves.

Protesting the negligence of DEOs the PAC members demanded results of internal audit into funds of school education department whose annual outlay is about Rs. 11,000 crore.

The officials said internal audit had not taken place for the last three years due to shortage of staff. The members felt the work should have been outsourced to overcome the handicap.

The meeting sought reports from all government departments whether they took up internal audit. If not, they were asked to conduct the same on outsourcing basis.

The meeting also discussed action taken against the accused in the Rs.18-crore scam involving Sarva Siksha Abhiyan funds, a few years ago. It was informed that assets worth Rs. four crore belonging to the kingpin were attached. One out of four remaining accused had died.

The members demanded strict supervision on corporate and private schools, especially in the matter of management of their hostels. They wanted the functioning of hostels to be brought under the control of school education department.

They also sought norms to safeguard against fire accidents in schools.

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