Glaring lapses in Karunya fund disbursal

Hospitals surrender unspent allocation to the authorities

Various hospitals accredited to the Karunya Benevolent Fund Scheme (KBFS) have reportedly failed to disburse substantial sums left at their disposal to the indigent beneficiaries and have surrendered the unspent allocation to the fund authorities.

The Financial Inspection Wing attached to the Department of Finance has detected glaring lapses in the fund disbursal system at a time when scores of people, mostly from the impoverished and marginalised sections, are looking forward for government assistance to foot their medical bills. A report prepared for the Additional Secretary, Finance, accessed by The Hindu , says that certain hospitals received huge amounts under the fund, but have not utilised it fully for various reasons such as death of the patients before availing themselves of the treatment or undergoing a part of the treatment on the advice of the doctors and returned it to the KBFS itself.

The report has cited the case of Pariyaram Medical College, Kannur, and Government Medical Colleges, Kozhikode and Ernakulam, as examples. Pariyaram Medical College had received Rs.80,84,55,008 up to April 20, 2015 and a sum of Rs.2,76,40,000 was parked in the bank for more than six months. Following a directive from the Finance Department, Rs.5.30 crore which was retained in the hospital’s account, accruing interest, was refunded to the KBFS on May 13, 2015.

A similar case has been reported from Government Medical College, Kozhikode too. Based on the Finance Department’s directives, the college authorities had refunded unutilised funds amounting to Rs.2.60 crore to the KBFS on May 27 last. Similarly, the inspection wing conducted a surprise check at the Ernakulam Government Medical College on June 11 and found that the hospital had received Rs.12,06,425 from 2012-13 to 2014-15, but a sum of Rs.8,81,625 was refunded to the KBFS administrator subsequently.

Since 2012-13, only 14 patients had availed themselves of the assistance provided under the scheme from the Medical College, the report says. Bureaucratic wrangles and lapses are being cited as the main reasons for the delay in distributing the assistance on time.

“The accumulation of huge amount as interest is not good in spirit (of the scheme) since there is a large backlog of patients queue to get assistance from the scheme,” the report says.

The KBFS should issue orders to refund the balance amount available on interest accrued under the scheme, the report says.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 2:24:06 PM |

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