CAG pulls up SED over non-utilisation of funds for civil works

'Lack of planning, coordination between offices resulted in blocking of Rs 21.48 crore for 4 years'
CAG pulls up SED over non-utilisation of funds for civil works
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Srinagar Apr 29: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the J&K School Education Department (SED) over non-utilisation of funds released to it for execution of civil works.

A CAG report “Compliance Audit of Social, General, Economic and Revenue Sectors” for the year ending March 31, 2020 has also revealed that the lack of planning, monitoring and coordination between different offices of SED resulted in blocking of Rs 21.48 crore for around four years.

The CAG said the project director erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) released funds under civil works (capital component) plan 2016-17, to the directors of School Education Jammu and Kashmir without any action plan for its utilisation which resulted in blocking of Rs 21.48 crore.

The CAG has pointed out the poor utilisation of funds and execution of works approved by Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India (GoI), in its Project Approval Board (PAB) of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in February 2016 for the Jammu and Kashmir.

"The civil works including separate girls toilet, boundary wall, furniture for government upper primary school and construction of building etc," the CAG said.

It said that the Project Director (SPD), SSA J&K released Rs 21.48 crore in favour of Director School Education (DSE) Jammu (Rs 9.76 crore) and DSE Kashmir (Rs 11.72 crore) with the direction not to utilise these funds till further detailed instructions were issued.

"But the audit scrutiny (July 2020) of the records of DSE Jammu revealed that no further instructions for utilisation of these funds were received from SPD, SSA J&K," the CAG said.

It has further said that the amount of Rs 9.76 crore was held in the official saving bank account and invested (March 2018) in fixed deposit receipts for a period of six months.

"Interest of Rs 3.13 crore accrued in the saving and fixed deposits was transferred (August 2020) to the Project Director Samagra Shiksha," it said

Similarly, Rs 11.72 crore released in March 2017 to DSE, Kashmir also remained unutilised in the savings bank account due to non-receipt of any directions for their utilisation.

"Failure of the department to get action plan prepared by subordinate offices for utilisation of funds received under AWP&B 2016-17 resulted in blocking of Rs 21.48 crore," it said.

The CAG has pointed out that there was an improper release of funds without a road map for their utilisation.

"The improper release of funds resulted in non-fulfilment of objective of creating intended infrastructure under SSA," the CAG said.

The CAG has further said that during audit of the DSE Jammu and DSE Kashmir it was revealed that the funds remained unutilised as they had not raised any demand under the Civil Works SSA Plan 2016-17 for release of the funds.

"The DSE Kashmir and Jammu said instructions for utilisation of the funds released were also not received from the SPD," CAG said.

However, the Project Director, Samagra Shiksha in February 2021 has stated that the the DSE Jammu and Kashmir were instructed not to utilise the funds till further orders as the works under different components were being finalised.

"The School Education Department in March 2017 issued directions to the SPD, SSA and RMSA that the available funds available are released to the implementing agencies to ensure nil balance at the end of year and avoid future cuts on account of unspent balance by GoI," the CAG said.

The lack of planning, monitoring and coordination between the offices of SPD, Samagra Shiksha, DSE Jammu and DSE Kashmir resulted in blocking of Rs 21.48 crore for the nearly four years, it said.

"The matter was referred to Department in February 2021 but their replies were awaited till October 2021," the CAG said.

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