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Cess poorly utilised for welfare schemes in Odisha: CAG report

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Audit agency also picks holes in potato programme

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has detected poor utilisation of cess collected for the welfare of construction workers in Odisha.

The State finances audit report of CAG tabled in the State Assembly on Thursday says the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996, and the BOCW (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, were enacted to improve the working conditions of workers and to provide financial aid to them.

The laws were aimed at augmenting resources for workers through levy and collection of cess on the cost of construction.

Though the collection of labour cess increased by ₹71.23 crore from ₹168.90 crore in 2013-14 to ₹240.13 crore in 2017-18, the percentage of utilisation of fund ranged from 1.33 in 2013-14 to 27.77 in 2017-18. “Due to poor utilisation of the funds, the objective of collection of labour cess was not being achieved,” the CAG report points out.

Similarly, the CAG has also picked holes in the State’s potato mission. In order to make the State self-sufficient in potatoes by the year 2017-18, the government had launched State Potato Mission during 2015-16 for its production, storage and distribution in the State.

It was implemented to provide incentive to the farmers for undertaking large scale cultivation of potatoes in cluster, give incentive for production of seed potatoes in the farmer’s field and to provide support for setting up of adequate number of cold storages in the State.

The CAG, however, said the percentage of utilisation of funds against budget provision ranged from zero to 4.33 during 2016-17 and 2017-18.

‘Targets not met’

“Against target of establishing 55 cold storages, the department could establish only 23 resulting in a shortfall of 58.18% during the last three years. Due to inadequate utilisation of funds and non-achievement of physical target set under the State Potato Mission, the intended benefits could not be achieved,” the apex audit agency says.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:50:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cess-poorly-utilised-for-welfare-schemes-in-odisha-cag-report/article30119577.ece

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