For 5 years now, CSIR has not made its annual reports public

T V Jayan New Delhi | Updated on December 08, 2019 Published on December 08, 2019

Shekhar Chintamani Mande, Director General of the CSIR

India’s largest public-funded research institution, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has not made its annual reports and account details public for the past five years, a major departure from a norm practised for decades.

The CSIR has not submitted its annual reports to Parliament since 2013-14 even though some insiders claim the institution has prepared these reports and had its accounts audited every year.

The CSIR whose laboratories are engaged in diverse industry-relevant sectors — from aerospace to food technology — gets thousands of crores of public funds every year.

The Centre, for instance, had allocated the CSIR ₹4,832 crore for the fiscal year 2019-20. Shekhar Chintamani Mande, the Director General of the CSIR, did not deny that the organisation has not been publishing its annual reports for a while. “CSIR annual reports have been regularly prepared and placed to the governing body of the CSIR from time to time. It will be made public at the earliest,” Mande told BusinessLine.

However, when further asked whether CSIR has a responsibility to inform the tax payers about its activities undertaken by it, Mande said: “CSIR informs the public through any channels about the work that is carried out. It is indeed the duty of CSIR to inform the public and this is viewed and followed up at CSIR regularly.”

Some CSIR insiders, who sought anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the annual reports have not been released because the highest decision making body of the council — the CSIR Society headed by the Prime Minister — has not had a single meeting since 2016.

It is mandatory to have the approval of the CSIR Society before the annual reports are released for public scrutiny, they said. These annual publications not only give a glimpse into activities undertaken by the research agency but also into funding made available for various research and outreach programmes.

“Such delays are rather unheard of,” said a former director-general of the council. “At the most, we used to have a delay of a couple of months,” he said.

‘Failure of management’

A former top science manager in the country, who has been at helm of affairs of a scientific department for many years, put the blame entirely on the CSIR’s top management for not getting these reports approved.

He said that it is the duty of the CSIR management to apprise the Prime Minister of the need for holding the meetings of the society at regular intervals as they are required for the smooth functioning of the council.

Published on December 08, 2019
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