The Punjab government owed a sum of Rs 1,593.40 crore to the state-owned company Punsup for not clearing bills pertaining to subsidised food-grains under the ambitious Atta-Dal scheme, as per the CAG report.
In its report on state finances, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has detected that the state government had not cleared the bills submitted by state-owned Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (Punsup) for differential cost which is between purchase price and issue price to beneficiaries under the Atta-Dal scheme.
"As on March 31, 2013, Punsup had Rs 1,593.40 crore receivables for the period August 2007 to March 2013 from the state government in respect of this (Atta-Dal) scheme," the report said.
SAD-BJP led Punjab government had introduced its ambitious Atta-Dal scheme in March 2007, aimed to provide wheat and Dal (pulses) at subsidised rates to poor families every month.
The job for distribution of wheat and pulses under the Atta Dal Scheme was assigned to Punsup.
Under this "prestigious" scheme, 35 kg of wheat per family was distributed at a rate of Rs 4 per kg, while pulses of up to 4 kg per family was supplied at a rate of Rs 20 per kg every month to beneficiaries.
The CAG observed, "A reasonable amount of unpaid bills are always there in the system due to time taken in passing the claims. However, they become a cause of concern when the magnitude is sizeable and non-payment could be attributed to lack of budget provision."
The matter was referred to state government but its reply was awaited (November 2013), said the report. CAG termed this item as 'off-budget borrowings', saying it may arise when the government does not fully pay money it owes to government companies or corporations.