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CAG slams Maharashtra govt over irregularities

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has slammed the government for failing to submit 38,884 utilisation bills worth Rs 60,321 crore to the finance department.

The CAG also pointed out that Rs 322 crore were withdrawn under ‘abstract contingent bills’ in 2016-17 without the mandatory finance department’s nod.

The state had warned disbursing officers not to withdraw last minute funds from the treasury.

The Bombay Financial Rules, 1959 stipulate that for the grants released for specific purposes, Utilisation Certificates (UCs) should be obtained. However, the utility certificates of Rs 60,321 are still pending since 2014, the CAG said.

“Major defaulting departments who have not submitted UCs are Urban Development (Rs 28,952 crore); Planning (Rs 5,104 crore); School Education and Sports (Rs 4,583 crore); Tribal Development (Rs 4,004 crore); Industries, Ene-rgy and Labour (Rs 3,808 crore);

Rural development and Water Conservation (Rs 2,986 crore); Revenue and Forest (Rs 1,813 crore); Social Justice And Special Assistance Department (Rs 1,668 crore); Public Health (Rs 1,569 crore) and Co-operation, Marketing and Textiles (rs 1,167 crore),” the CAG said.

The purpose for which grants-in-aid was sanctioned and utilised can be confirmed only on receipt of UCs which would safeguard against diversion of funds for other purposes. Further, to the extent of non-receipt of UCs, the expenditure shown in accounts can neither be treated as final nor can it be confirmed as the amount has been expended for the purpose sanctioned.

As per the provisions of the Maharashtra Treasury Rules, 1968, when money is required in advance or the Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) are not able to arrive at the exact expenditure, DDOs are authorised to draw money through ‘abstract contingent’ (AC) bills. The detailed contingent (DC) bills containing vouchers in support of final expenditure towards the amount so drawn are to be submitted within 30 days to the offices of the principal accountant general (A&E) or pay and accounts Office.

“Of the Rs 322.46 crore drawn through AC bills during 2016-17, Rs 213.16 crore (66 per cent) was drawn on the last day of the financial year. Significant withdrawal through AC bills on the last day indicates that the withdrawal was primarily to exhaust the budget provision and reveals inadequate budgetary control. As on March 31, 2017, detailed bills in respect of 2,864 abstract contingent bills amounting to Rs 950.53 crore were not received,” the CAG said.

Of which major contributors to the pending DC bills of Rs 268 crore during 2016-17 are Home (Rs 185.89 crore); Law & Judiciary (Rs 30.12 crore); General Administration (Rs 13.23 crore); Rural Development & Water Conservation (Rs 10.84 crore).

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