Projects not reaching anywhere near completion, says Principal Accountant General

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has expressed serious concern over the blockade of funds spent on incomplete projects, irrigation projects in particular, that was negatively affecting the State’s expenditure.

The delay in the completion of 16 irrigation projects had resulted in cost overrun of Rs. 20,142 crore, while the cumulative expenditure on the projects till March 31 last year was Rs. 48,156 crore. The cost overrun resulted from the fact that the government had revised the original cost of 72 irrigation projects from Rs. 57,670 crore to Rs. 86,512 crore of which 16 projects accounted for more than Rs. 20,000 crore.

Prolonged processes

A test check of some of these projects revealed that these took enormous time for completion due to prolonged processes in land acquisition, finalising design & drawings, approvals, tendering and other processes. Further, funds allocated to many capital works remained unspent due to non-adherence to fixed timelines.

“This is loss investment as the projects are not reaching anywhere near completion,” Principal Accountant General Vani Sriram said.

In its report on State Finances for the year 2011-12, the CAG said 228 projects - 72 relating to irrigation, roads and buildings (42), Panchayat Raj and Rural Development (99) and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (15) that were due for completion by March 31 last year were not completed.

The expenditure on the social sector, particularly education and health, remained lower when compared to General Category States (GCS). While the aggregate expenditure on education during the year remained way below at 13.8 per cent, compared to the GCS (17.18 per cent), it was 4.67 per cent in health, a shade above the GCS’ average of 4.3 per cent.

The government had shown an increase of Rs. 5,726 crore in non-tax revenues, but it was a notional increase made in the form of book adjustment.

There was underestimation of pension liabilities wherein the government had not transferred Rs. 894 crore to the asset manager as prescribed in the FRBM Act and the provision for pensions itself was lower by Rs. 100 crore.

Huge difference

The CAG noticed a huge difference of Rs. 11,121 crore in the opening balance of the year, compared to the closing balance of the previous year. In addition, operation of close to one lakh personal deposit accounts wherein Rs. 23,483 crore had been locked was noticed.

“Operation of personal deposit accounts in some cases saw withdrawal of funds through self cheques. This could give scope for irregularities,” she said.

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