Coming down heavily on the PGIMER, the CAG has said the premier health institute misused public money by paying Rs 12.6 lakh as learning resource allowance (LRA) to its officials in 2011-12.
LRA is an annual allowance meant for the purchase of electronic gadgets by PGIMER employees to help them in work. However, the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India - in its audit report of the institute for the 2011-12 fiscal - has said the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) paid Rs 30,000 each to 45 of its officials, but did not submit information on guidelines governing LRA to the audit team, despite repeated reminders.
The PGIMER has also been criticised for paying LRA to its chief security officer and a former principal private secretary. The audit party found that PGIMER chief security officer PC Sharma was paid Rs 29,445 in 2011-12 and, in the same year, GS Patial, a principal private secretary (now retired) was paid Rs 30,000. “This practice of allowing LRA to such staff, which has no relation with any kind of research activity, shows misuse of public money,” the report found.
It is known that learning resource allowance at the PGIMER has often been used by officials to please their by purchasing gadgets like iPads, expensive cameras and laptops. As per the recommendations of Sixth Pay Commission in 2008, all officers in Group A category as per Central Government Service Rules were given LRA. Significantly, LRA is mandatory to be spent on professional advancement of the officials. The money can be spent to buy computers, books etc.
In 2012, the Hindustan Times had highlighted how three accounts officers of the institute were drawing LRA, despite not being entitled to do so. Significantly, the PGIMER provides LRA to various officials including faculty.