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Restrict Contingency Fund advances to emergencies: CAG tells govt.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has recommended that the State government restrict the sanctioning of advances from the Contingency Fund to emergencies. The recommendation was made after lapses were found by the watchdog.

The CAG’s State finance audit report for the year ended March 2018 stated that advances from the fund were sanctioned when there was no immediate need, and hence, the utilisation ranged from 78% to 98%.

“Advances from the fund are to be made only for meeting expenditure of an unforeseen and emergent character, the postponement of which, till its authorisation by the Legislature, would be undesirable. The fund is in the nature of an imprest and its corpus is ₹150 crore,” the report said.

The CAG found that in 2017, the sanctions made from the Contingency Fund to the departments of Law, Information and Publicity and Governor and Council of Ministers respectively were “fully unutilised”.

A sum of ₹1.14 crore allocated to the Governor and Council of Ministers Department for the provision of cabling for air conditioner at Raj Bhavan was not utilised, and the department had cited administrative reasons, the report said.

The CAG said a sum of ₹3.56 crore sanctioned to the Department of Horticulture as additional assistance for Ockhi-hit farmers in Kanniyakumari district was drawn from the Treasury in February 2018 and kept in the savings bank account of the Director of Horticulture.

After incurring an expenditure of ₹0.76 crore (March 2018), the balance amount of ₹2.80 crore was retained in the bank account as of March 31, 2018, it said.

Underutilisation of funds

About ₹19.80 crore, sanctioned to the Fisheries Department in August 2017 for the implementation of the scheme of ‘Diversification of trawl fishing boats from Palk Bay into deep sea fishing boats’, was drawn in full. But only ₹0.11 crore was utilised and the balance amount was deposited into the personal deposit account of the Director of Fisheries, according to the report.

The CAG also pointed to non/partial implementation of major schemes announced in the Budget for 2017-18.

A sum of ₹2,000 crore allocated in the Budget for the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Fund was withdrawn. Similarly, an allocation of ₹400 crore to the Chennai Mega City Development Mission and ₹200 crore in grants to the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Board for the Project Preparation Fund were also withdrawn.

Of the ₹300 crore allocated in the Budget for the Water Resources Management Mission and the Kudimaramathu scheme, ₹223 crore was utilised, the CAG added.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/restrict-contingency-fund-advances-to-emergencies-cag-tells-govt/article28629903.ece

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