The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)’s audit reports on various states have been tabled in their respective Assemblies in recent days. Here is a look at the CAG reports’ key findings on Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala and Odisha:
The highlights of the CAG report, which was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on March 31, are as follows:
* Warns the state government about falling into a “debt trap” and advises it to work out a “well-thought-out borrowing-repayment strategy” to avoid it. Points out that the government would have to pay 61% of the total debt in next 7 years, which may put strain on its resources.
* Without mentioning the Covid pandemic, the CAG report states that during 2020-21, Gujarat turned revenue deficit for the first time since 2011-12. And that the government had understated the revenue deficit by Rs 10,997 crore.
* Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the state in 2020-21 revised its targeted road-length by one-third and ended the year with 54% of the released funds unspent.
* Says state PSUs in Gujarat have accumulated losses of Rs 30,400 crore, and notes that the government continues to invest in them, like the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation and the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, despite their net worth having eroded completely.
* Points out that subsidies provided by the state government have doubled in five years to Rs 22,141 crore at the end of 2020-21.
The CAG report on Bihar for 2020 was tabled in the state Assembly on March 30. Its key findings are as follows:
* Three of five sampled district hospitals were short of 52-92% beds and none of them had an operation theatre, while the ICU facility was available in only one of them. Four hospitals in encephalitis-prone areas had no testing facility for Japanese Encephalitis.
* Under the Namami Gange programme, there was inadequate planning for sewage treatment in Patna as the sanctioned capacity of the sewage treatment plants (STP) was able to treat only half of sewage.
* The arrears as on March 31, 2020, in respect of principal heads of revenue, amounted to Rs 4,584.73 crore, of which Rs 1,357.78 crore was outstanding for more than five years.
The major findings of the CAG report on Maharashtra, which was tabled in the state Assembly last week, are as follows:
* The Maharashtra government’s implementation of the centrally-sponsored Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) was fraught with delays and ineffective monitoring. As against total grants (central and state) of Rs 376.97 crore, the government could spend only Rs 283.07 crore, leaving an unspent balance of Rs 93.90 crore.
* A significant area of a market building constructed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) under the Accommodation Reservation Scheme was either not utilised or was lying vacant. The MCGM constructs, maintains, and regulates public markets for sale of fruits, vegetables, meat etc.
The progress in redevelopment of existing dilapidated markets and rehabilitation of shop owners was poor.
* The construction of sewage treatment plants in prohibited zone, which had to be demolished, resulted in wasteful expenditure of Rs 3.25 crore.
* The delay in the grant of revised administrative approval to an incomplete hydroelectric project, for which an expenditure of Rs 250.03 crore has been incurred, resulted in blocking of funds for more than six years.
* The lack of coordination between the Mumbai Slum Improvement Board, the collector, Mumbai suburban district, and the MCGM resulted in idling of multipurpose centre constructed at a cost of Rs 5.71 crore at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Ghatkopar (East), Mumbai for over five years.
* Incorrect estimation of taxable income and consequent short payment of advance income tax resulted in avoidable payment of interest of Rs 2.36 crore for the financial year 2017-18.
* The failure to acquire land for construction of a canal resulted in unfruitful expenditure of Rs 15.20 crore on the construction of a dam.
These are the highlights of the CAG report for 2020-21, which was recently tabled in the Kerala Assembly.
* Kerala’s fiscal deficit increased from Rs 26,448.35 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 40,969.69 crore in 2020-21.
* The increase in fiscal deficit by Rs 17,132.22 crore during 2020-21 over the previous year was mainly due to the net effect of increase in revenue deficit (Rs 11,334.25 crore), decrease in non-debt capital receipts (Rs 24.83 crore), increase in capital expenditure (Rs 4,434.85 crore) and increase in disbursement of loans and advances (Rs 1,338.29 crore).
* 60.94% of the total revenue expenditure was incurred on committed expenses — on salaries and wages (Rs 28767.46 crore), interest payment (Rs 20975.36 crore), pension payments (Rs 18942.85 crore), and subsidies (Rs 6547.48 crore).
* The state’s outstanding public debt at the end of 2020-21 was Rs 2,05,447.73 crore, comprising internal debt (Rs 1,90,474.09 crore) and loans and advances from the central government (Rs 14,973.64 crore).
The CAG report was tabled in the Odisha Assembly on March 31. The key findings of the CAG’s performance audit on surface irrigation and its audit of the state finances are as follows:
* The CAG report finds that incomplete irrigation projects since 1980s have seen a cost escalation ranging from 182% to 4,596%. Of the seven projects audited, three have been completed so far. The total initial cost was estimated at Rs 955.73 crore. However, the revised estimate stands at Rs 19,103.63 crore, of which Rs 12,742.11 crore has been spent so far. Even though the amount spent is 66.69% of the total revised cost, the area covered is only 24% of the target area. So far the irrigation projects have covered 1,22,418 hectares against the proposed area coverage of 5,02,842 hectares.
* The Odisha government’s revenue receipts (Rs 1,04,387 crore) constituted 20.49% of the Gross State Domestic Product (Rs 5,09,574 crore) during 2020-21. The state’s revenue expenditure (Rs 95,311 crore) was 18.70% of the GSDP for 2020-21, which decreased by Rs 3,826 crore (3.86 per cent) over 2019-20 (Rs 99,137 crore).
* In 2020-21, the state’s total savings were Rs 43,554.13 crore, out of which Rs 32,556.37 crore (74.75%) was surrendered on the last day of the year i.e., March 31, 2021. The remaining savings of Rs 10,997.76 crore (25.25%) were not surrendered during 2020-21.
Here are the highlights of the CAG report tabled in the West Bengal Assembly on March 28:
* In March 2020 and February 2021, the Bengal government amended the FRBM Act with regard to the targets for the six-year period from 2019-20 to 2024-25 prospectively. The state’s fiscal parameters as reflected in its revenue and fiscal deficits were negative during 2016-21. The state also had primary deficits during 2017-21.
* The state’s liabilities have been increasing year-on-year and over 58.84% of the market borrowings during 2020-21 were utilised to balance its revenue account that led to restricting the asset creation.
* The state’s outstanding public debt at the end of 2020-21 has increased by 12.92%. In the ensuing three, five and seven years, the debt maturity will be 15.49, 26.60 and 41.42%, respectively, of the total outstanding public debt (Rs 4,24,247 crore).
* In respect of 65 Autonomous Bodies (ABs), which were to render their annual accounts to the CAG, two District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs) did not submit accounts since their inception in 1998-99. As of 30 September 2021, 288 annual accounts of ABs due up to 2020-21 remained pending. This points to “inadequate internal controls” and “deficient monitoring mechanism” of various state government departments.
Source: india Express