CAG raps TN govt on freebies

The semantic twist was in the unusual elasticity imparted to provision of infrastructure in village panchayats, by stretching it to include freebies like colour TV sets and free gas stoves under the former.

The scheme launched with fanfare in September 2006 under the name “Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam (AGAMT)” was to improve basic infrastructure in all the 12,618 village panchayats in the State over a five-year period, taking one-fifth of the village panchayats in each Panchayat Union (PU) every year under its fold. 

The CAG in its ‘performance evaluation’ of the scheme in 207 and 208 village panchayats during the years 2006-07 and 2007-08 respectively, was shocked to find that achievements under the scheme had been ‘inflated’ by inclusion of non-infrastructure items too.
The report on ‘Local Bodies’ for the year ended March 31, 2008, placed in the State Assembly on Monday, said that in the ‘test-checked districts’ where ‘AGAMT’ is underway, target ‘achievements’ under other schemes like free supply of colour TVs’, (a major populist scheme of the ruling DMK), free supply of gas stoves, old age pension, loans/subsidies given to self-help groups, loans under self-employment schemes and even loans disbursed by Primary Agriculture Cooperative Banks (PACB)s’, scholarships to students etc., “amounting to Rs.120.98 crore were shown as achievements during (the two years) 2006-08.”

But the above schemes hardly had anything to do with ‘creation of infrastructure’ for the selected villages, the CAG remarked.

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