The most recent audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) concerning the performance of the government on various accounts does not present a picture worth appreciation but definitely merits consideration.
In fact, there have been many shortcomings pointed out in the administration’s performances and lack of seriousness in the latest report, leading to delay in various projects of immense importance including non-establishment of model schools in the past 10 years despite availability of Rs 44.13 crore.
As per it, the government should refund the unspent funds and fix responsibility while highlighting lack of timely action for utilization of funds received from the Centre and how it deprived quality education to the intended beneficiaries.
It said the department of school education and literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), launched a scheme in November 2008 with the objective of having at least one good quality secondary school (Model School) in every educationally backward block (EBB).
The scheme, it said, was to be implemented from 2009-10 onwards. As the Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) was a special category State, the funding pattern through Grant-in-aid for implementation of the scheme was 90:10 for GoI and Government of Jammu and Kashmir (GoJ&K) respectively, the CAG said.
When this was pointed out by the audit in January, 2019, the Chief Accounts Officer, Jammu and Kashmir is said to have stated (July 2019/June 2020) that the amount initially approved for establishment of model school was inadequate to take the construction work. However, the case regarding revision of cost submitted (2010-11) to Project Approval Board (PAB) was undecided (as on June 2020), it said.
“The reply is not tenable as the department has not availed the benefit to either revise the unit cost estimate of each school or to meet the financial burden despite relaxation of norms by DSEL. Besides, after delinking of the scheme from the GoI support in 2015, the department was to arrange the additional funds from its own resources for which no steps were taken and Rs 44.13 crore continued to be held in the bank account,” it said.
The CAG has also pointed out several deficiencies in the implementation of various programmes and internal-control measures in selected departments in erstwhile state, the CAG said the pendency of a large number of paragraphs indicates a lack of adequate response from the government departments to the audit.
The Executive is answerable to the legislature and to the people for all its decisions. The answerability is enforced through the CAG where it involves finance and accounts. The CAG of India has, not for the first time, pointed out the inadequacies but there seems to be slackness in fixing the responsibility.