Srinagar: A special audit report of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir pertaining to Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU), Rajouri, has pointed out large-scale financial irregularities in the centrally-sponsored Rs 12 crore Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP-III) project.
The TEQUP-III is being implemented by the University as a central sector scheme receiving 100 percent funding from Government of India (GoI) and targets “sustaining excellence in engineering education and widening impact through competitively selected institutions in non-low income states and special category states.”
It is being executed under the direct supervision and Coordination of Dean Academic Affairs, Prof Iqbal Pervez, a retired employee since 2018 in violation of rules, the audit report says.
According to the Special Audit Report of Directorate of Audit and Inspections, sent to Higher Education Department, J&K Government, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, the University has incurred expenditure of Rs 81748686 from 2017-18 to 2019-20 “without taking into consideration the prescribed component limit of 60 percent, 30 percent and 10 percent” as per the guidelines for making the expenditure.
Making a slew of serious observations, the Audit Report mentions that the expenditure has been incurred without the approval of the competent authority.
“As per the model guidelines of UGC, no re-employed teacher can exercise administrative or financial powers but in case of TEQIP-III the Coordinator is a retiree, who retired on 30-06-2018 and is still exercising administrative and financial powers,” the report reads, adding that the payments have been released on the recommendations of Nodal Officer Finance nominated for the purpose instead of recommendations of Deputy Registrar Finance of the University who is drawing and disbursing officer of the University.
“The Nodal Officer Finance nominated for TEQIP-III is an Assistant Professor in Electronics stream in the Engineering College of BGSBU and he may not have adequate knowledge of Financial and Codal Procedures,” the report adds.
“The survey committees constituted for verification and goods and services under TEQIP-III neither have any specialist member/subject matter specialist nor have recorded the prescribed certificates on the bills before release of payment,” the report reads, adding that in respect of civil works executed under the project, it has been observed that the estimates for the works have been prepared by the Executive Engineer of the University and the payments have been released without the technical “check/sanction from the Executive Engineer.”
Further, no security deposit has been deducted from the bill to safeguard the defect liability period, nor any cross check of the rates have been made by “the Drawing wing of the University.” Citing many cases, the audit report says the payments have been released in excess of the administrative approval, including in case of “power lab equipments, purchase of physics lab equipment and expenditure on account of GATE coaching for which the expenditure incurred was Rs 79.63 lakh as against the administrative sanction of Rs 3 lakh.” The School of Engineering and Technology which implements TEQIP-III under the direct “coordinatorship and supervision of Dean Academics Prof. Pervez Iqbal, who is a retired employee aged above 70 years, has 272 free seats and 104 payment seats.”
“As per the records made available, the expenditure incurred under the project TEQIP-III w.e.f 1.9.2017 to31.3.2020 is Rs 1217.00 lakhs, excluding salaries paid to the regular associated staff of the University, from the University fund and from other sources of grants. However, while comparing expenses with data of admission of students, it has been observed that as many as 21 percent to 60 percent of free seats and 86 percent -99 percent of payment have remained unfilled over the years. The students ratio is showing a decreasing trend year after year, indicating that the University has not taken effective steps to increase the number of admissions, thus funds provided by World Bank/Govt of India for TEQIP have not yielded the desired results,” the report reads.
The Audit Report also says that some important positions of the University, including Dean Academic Affairs, are being manned by re-employed teachers working in the University in contrary to the UGC Model Guidelines for re-employment which provides that a superannuated reemployed teacher shall not be eligible for holding administrative or financial responsibilities at the institution or elsewhere.