The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that field offices of the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Departments have parked funds meant for government schemes in banks, and has told the State government that the money should not be parked outside the government account.
The State Finance Audit Report of the CAG for the year ended March 2018, which was tabled in the Assembly on Saturday, said the money should be drawn as and when required.
According to the report, field offices of the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Departments held a balance of ₹362.33 crore in 422 bank accounts as of March 2018, out of the funds released for the implementation of various schemes. This included ₹201.31 crore in 153 inoperative accounts, it said.
“According to Rule 178 of the Tamil Nadu Budget Manual (TNBM), it is irregular to draw money from the Treasury without immediate requirement. Notwithstanding the provision of the TNBM, government departments draw the funds provided in the Budget for various schemes and deposit the money in the bank accounts for implementing schemes,” the CAG said.
Test check of records
Its test check of the records of the Directorate and field offices of the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Departments showed that district officers maintained multiple bank accounts for implementing various schemes, and the number of accounts they held ranged from one to 13.
However, the report said no separate cash was maintained for such accounts, and instead, one consolidated cash book was maintained.
No proper system
“As such, there was no proper system of reconciliation of cash book balances with the respective bank accounts to avoid non-payment/delay in payment of assistance to the beneficiaries. Further, this made it difficult to work out scheme-wise balances at a given point of time,” the report said.
The CAG pointed out that the 153 inoperative accounts were not operated for more than a year.
“The bank accounts were inoperative except for interest credits and bank charges. Non-operation of these accounts for more than a year indicated that these funds were not required immediately, and hence, keeping these amounts in bank accounts was not in order. The expenditure of the Department is overstated to that extent,” it said.
The CAG advised the State government to check the parking of funds by other departments as well and take appropriate corrective measures.
Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/watchdog-warns-against-parking-funds-allotted-for-govt-schemes-in-banks/article28629938.ece