CAG comments not final: Rosaiah

Special Correspondent

Finance Minister says clarifications from departments pending

“CAG report not an assessment of government’s performance”

Revision of estimates for irrigation projects is normal: Minister

HYDERABAD: Finance Minister K. Rosaiah has rejected the adverse remarks made in the report of Comptroller & Auditor-General.

The Minister claimed said that the comments by CAG will be dropped when clarifications are offered by the departments concerned.

Aided by I.Y.R. Krishna Rao, Principal Secretary, Finance, at a press conference here on Saturday, the Minister said the observations made in the CAG report were not final and, therefore, “cannot be taken as established truths to castigate the government.” He said the CAG report made comments only on specific projects and they must not be construed as an assessment of the government’s performance as was being misunderstood by the media and public. The remarks, however, would be taken in a positive spirit for rectification of lapses wherever they were pointed out.

On the CAG remark that the delay in executing irrigation projects caused an additional expenditure of Rs. 57,000 crores, he said under this head, even decades-old projects, including the ones such as Kanpur Canal which was launched in 1962, were taken for reckoning. Moreover, the revision of the estimates for an irrigation project was quite normal as additional ayacuts were added invariably at a later stage. Mr. Rosaiah rejected the comment that the State finances were not within the confines of the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act, saying the CAG officials appeared to have “misread and misunderstood” the spirit of the FRBM. The Finance Minister claimed that the borrowings made by the government from 2005 were far below the level prescribed by the Act and that during its term the fiscal deficit was on wane.

He emphasised that because of the sound fiscal discipline, the government received a Central incentive of Rs. 6,830 crore for 2006-07, an equal amount for 2007-08 and it was in for getting the same for 2008-09 also.