CAG raps TN for 'diversion' of funds for 'ineligible items'

According to the CAG report on local bodies for the year ended March 31, 2008, "six districts showed ineligible items amounting to Rs 120.98 crore as dovetailed under Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam (AGAMT - a scheme for taking up infrastructure projects in villages), thus inflating the achievement in dovetailing."

"Ineligible items" under ruling DMK's schemes such as "free supply of colour TV sets, free supply of gas stoves, old age pensions, loans and subsidy to self-help groups" and others amounting to the said amount was shown as achievement during 2006-08 "although these did not result in mobilisation of resources into the villages on creation of infrastructure as  envisaged by AGAMT," the report said.

Further, in some municipalities, funds were diverted for other purposes, the CAG report, tabled in the Assembly on Monday, said.

On the overall financial performance, revenue collection by urban local bodies, instead of showing increasing trend, was "widely fluctuating" under tax revenue, non-tax revenue including professional tax and property tax.

The Chennai Corporation was also not spared as the CAG pointed out at deficiencies and discrepancies in the civic body in implementation of health, family welfare and sanitation programmes.

"Chennai City corporation failed to provide one urban primary health centre for every one lakh population as prescribed in urban health care delivery policy resulting in non-achievement of the objective of doing away with existing multiple agencies in different locations," the CAG said.

While shortage of qualified health personnel affected services including maternal and child health, "active surveillance for malaria was absent and there was short procurement of chemicals required for its control," it said.

Essential medicines including penicillin and paracetamol were not available due to this, it said. Shortage of food inspectors has adversely affected the testing of food and water samples, CAG added.

Commenting on the findings, Shankar Narayan, Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, told reporters today there was no nodal authority in the state to consolidate finances for Panchayati Raj institutions.

CAG's recommendations include avoiding diversion of scheme funds for other purposes, and "implicit adherence" to scheme guidelines to avoid deficiency in planning and execution of works, as found in many municipalities.

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