CAG pulls up J&K for undue delay in implementing NFSA finds glaring discrepancies

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The Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up the the Jammu and Kashmir government for “undue delay” in implementation of National Food Security Act and also criticised the public distribution department for “not reviewing” earlier the list of BPL families.

Taking into consideration the census figures of 2011, the CAG report tabled in the state Assembly here today said 26 per cent of the population in the state remained out of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) coverage.

The shortfall in allocation vis-a-vis requirement ranged between 31 and 36 per cent in respect of wheat, and seven and 32 per cent in respect of rice under various schemes, it said.

Noting the “undue delay” in the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA), the report said the department had sought six months extension from the Centre which lapsed in October 2014 but “failed to implement” it till March 2015.

The report also came down heavily on the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Department for not reviewing the list of BPL families leading to issuing of food grains worth Rs 17.89 crore to ineligible families while depriving eligible BPL families.

“Further 1.09 lakh metric tonnes additional ad hoc food grains allocated by the government of India for ‘not covered BPL families’ had been distributed among existing BPL card holders during 2010-12,” the report said.

It said despite recommendations (November 2009) of the Public Accounts Committee, accounts continued to remain in arrears since 1973-74 and 1974-75 in respect of the Jammu and Kashmir divisions, respectively.

The CAG report also recommended a slew of measures to improve the functioning of CAPD, like reviewing the list of BPL beneficiaries, updating of accounts and strengthening of public distribution system (PDS) to extend benefits to targeted population.

The department is to prepare proforma accounts immediately after the close of each financial year but not later than June 1 for certification by audit before September 30 each year.

“Due to non-preparation of accounts, the financial position and working results of the department could not be ascertained in audit,” the report said, adding, the department said that the accounts were in arrears since 1973-74 and it would be futile to prepare proforma accounts from any year in the middle without authentic opening balances available.

“It was further stated that the matter being policy decision, the directive in this regard from the government was awaited,” the report said.

The CAG said scrutiny of the records showed that the department had not revised the rate of wheat bran (a byproduct obtained during wheat grinding) during last seven years though market rates of wheat brain had increased three fold and reached to Rs 2,200 per quintal in May 2014.

Audit analysis showed that the department had sold 2.06 lakh quintals of wheat bran to the millers from April 2013 to March 2015, sustaining a loss of Rs 15.45 crore on sale at old rate (Rs 750), the CAG said.

During 2010-15, the report said, the department released Rs 2,932.64 crore to Food Corporation of India but the department had not carried out any reconciliation with the corporation to ascertain the extent of actual advance payment made and quantum of food grains lifted.

“Continuation of advance payments in absence of periodic reconciliation to ascertain actual account balances is fraught with risk of fraud and embezzlement remaining undetected,” it said.

Against total allocation of 37.80 lakh metric tonnes of food grains during 2010-15, the department had lifted 39.14 lakh MTs of food grains under all categories, it said.

The distribution of kerosene oil to LPG consumers resulted in an avoidable burden of subsidy of Rs 459.24 crore on government exchequer, the CAG said.

The expenditure of Rs 1.50 crore incurred on construction of laboratories turned unfruitful besides Rs 5.61 crore, released under end-to-end computerisation of PDS scheme, remained unutilised, it said.

Audit scrutiny showed that the department failed to provide food security to all the identified persons of the state under Annapurna Scheme during the period 2010-14.

“Thus identified beneficiaries ranging between 23 to 85 per cent were deprived of the benefit of free ration under the scheme,” the report said.

The report also highlighted the shortage of staff in the department and said nearly 24 per cent posts were vacant affecting the working of the department.

“As on March 31, 2015, against the sanctioned strength of 2,073 storekeepers or salesmen, only 1,583 officials were in place to man 2,233 government sale depots,” it said.

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