Economy

CAG deplores continued lapses in MP area scheme

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 18, 2011 Published on March 18, 2011

BL19_ECO_MPLADS-COLLEGE

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has indicted the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation in charge of running the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, (MPLADS), introduced in 1993 for “ still persisting with many of the shortcomings pointed out in its two review reports in 1998 and 2001”.

In its report on the MPLADS, tabled in Parliament on Friday, the CAG said its two earlier audit reports had laid bare various “weaknesses and lapses” in the implementation of the scheme. Yet, the action taken notes (ATNs) on these reviews were submitted by the Ministry after a lapse of ten and eight years respectively only in 2009, it said adding that the “current report reveals that many of the shortcomings pointed out in those two reports still persist”.

MIPLADS was launched in 1993 to enable members of Parliament (MPs) to identify small works of capital nature to meet local needs in their constituencies and an MP from Lok Sabha might select works for implementation in his/her constituency while member of Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation in one or more districts of his/her choice in the State from which he/she has been elected.

While initially Rs 1 crore was given to MPs under the scheme, this was raised to Rs 2 crore from 1998-99. The Union Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, while winding up the discussion on the General Budget on March said this would be hiked to Rs 5 crore from May this year.

CAG pointed out that between 2004-05 and 2008-09, Rs 7,245.95 crore had been released and Rs 9,836.53 crore was available with District Authorities (DAs) which included opening balance of Rs 2,404.26 crore as of April 2004 and interest of Rs 186.32 crore accrued on unspent balances during 2004-09. Against this, an expenditure of Rs 8,048.53 crore had been incurred, leaving an unspent balance of Rs 1,788 crore as on March 31, 2009.

shortcomings

Stating that there were shortcomings in the process of sanction of works, it said in the sampled districts of eight States, DAs executed 700 works costing Rs 9.45 crore without receiving any recommendations from the MPs concerned. In three States, DAs carried out 150 works costing Rs 2.44 crore on the recommendation of the representatives of the MPs rather than the MPs themselves. In 10 States, Rs 14.40 crore was sanctioned for works pertaining to 34 trusts/societies, which exceeded the ceiling of Rs 25 lakh per trust/society fixed under the scheme by Rs 5.90 crore. In seven States, DAs sanctioned Rs 5.94 crore to 145 trusts/societies which were either ineligible as per the scheme guidelines or whose eligibility had not been verified by the DAs.

Even as MPs had been assigned no role in the selection of implementing agencies (IAs) according to the norms, in nine States/UTs the MPs recommended the names of IAs and recommended release of funds directly to the user agency for execution of 8746 works.

No Internal records

CAG stated that basic internal control records such as asset registers, work registers, underpinning accountability structures within the Scheme, were missing in a number of instances with 90 per cent of the audited DAs not maintaining such registers.

Interestingly, the audit observed that the expenditure under the MPLADS had “a propensity to increase at the times close to elections, while during the intermediary period, funds tended to accumulate”. Again, CAG found that as many as 86 DAs in 23 States/Us had not inspected any work during 2004-05 to 2008-09, while they were required to inspect at least 10 per cent of the sanctioned works.

The CAG report urged the Ministry to maintain an MP-wise grants-in-aid register with details of funds released, status of monthly reports, utilisation certificates and audit certificates in a computerised format with complete data validation and place it on the official website of the Ministry for effective monitoring of the fund utilisation under MPLADS. The Ministry should ensure complete documentation at all levels including maintenance of records such as works registers, muster rolls, works completion reports, cash book at DA/IA level.

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Published on March 18, 2011
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