The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to fix responsibility on officials and auditors responsible for verification, certification, or for passing wrongful claims in the Rs 52,000-crore Agriculture Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme.

Action needs to be initiated and full responsibility fixed at the earliest with no exceptions, the RBI said in a notification relating to performance audit of the Scheme.

Referring to the serious nature of observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the RBI said, the Government of India, among others, wants the beneficiaries’ lists completely verified with priority being given to areas where indebtedness was high.

“Cases of extending of benefits to ineligible beneficiaries must be dealt with on top priority and full recoveries as per law must be made to ensure no loss to the exchequer.

‘Personal responsibility’

“It will be the personal responsibility of the institutional heads to ensure that such recoveries are effected in full,” said the RBI.

The RBI observed that all cases of tampering/alteration of records, and so on, must be identified and scrutinised by a higher authority. A decision on each such case in the form of speaking orders must be taken.

Stringent action under relevant sections of law against those responsible must be initiated. This would be regularly monitored by the Chief Vigilance Officers of the institutions concerned.

Debt Waiver/Debt Relief certificates must be issued in all eligible cases immediately and full records of such issuance may be kept ready for inspection, the central bank said.

A list of eligible beneficiaries who were not extended benefits also has to be drawn up and may be examined qualitatively to establish the reasons for such denials. Action may be initiated in all cases where carelessness appears likely.

The central bank wants monthly reporting by banks on the issues raised by the Government.

Ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 6, 2013)
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