The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pulled up the Rajasthan government for not spending a single rupee from the funds allocated for three gender-based schemes aimed at empowering women in 2015-16.
Two schemes – the Mission Gramya Shakti (MGS) and Dhan Laxmi Mahila Samridhi Kendra (DLMSK) – fall under the women and child development department while the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) comes under the rural development and panchayati raj department. The CAG report says no expenditure was incurred under the MGS scheme, aimed at strengthening self-help groups, against the provision of Rs 16.60 crore made for the entire fiscal year.
In its response, the women and child development department told CAG officials that the scheme could not be implemented due to non-approval of the MGS’s work plan by the finance department.
The DLMSK scheme, for its part, was introduced with the objective of effecting socio-economic empowerment of women by training self-help groups and providing platforms for marketing products. However, the CAG noted that no expenditure was incurred against the programme’s budgetary provision of Rs 11.89 crore during 2015-16. Department authorities said this was due to non-receipt of documents required for constructing buildings for the centre.
The CAG report further noted that there was zero expenditure under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), despite the allocation of Rs 129.60 crore for the purpose. The rural development and panchayati raj department blamed non-receipt of funds from the Centre for this.
The National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP) also found a mention in the CAG report, given that only Rs 8.23 crore out of its total allocation of Rs 31.19 crore was utilised through the fiscal year.
“Nil expenditure on three gender-based schemes, and only 26% expenditure on one scheme, show lack of emphasis on the implementation of gender budgeting,” the CAG report concluded.
Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) reacted strongly to the CAG findings. “It is shocking that so much funding remained unutilised under these schemes. This goes to show that women empowerment is definitely not a priority for the Rajasthan government,” she said.
Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) is a means to ensure that public resources are allocated in an equitable manner to satisfy the most pressing needs of specific gender groups. The state government had announced the preparation of the GRB, which would enable gender-based budgetary analysis of each department, in the 2009-10 budget.
CAG cautions Rajasthan govt on widening PSU losses
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has warned the Rajasthan government that continued use of borrowed funds for investments that do not yield sufficient financial returns would lead to unsustainable financial position.
The CAG in its report has stated that in view of the huge losses of some state-owned public sector undertakings (PSUs), the government may consider reviewing their working. Besides, the government needs to ensure the financial and operational efficiency of the power distribution companies (discoms).
As on March 31, 2016, the government invested Rs 37,414.62 crore in 47 government companies, seven statutory corporations, two rural banks, 25 joint stock companies, cooperative banks, and societies. The average return on the investment was 0.1%-0.4% during 2011-16, while the government paid an average interest of 6.7% to 7.7% on its borrowings. Therefore, the return on investment of the state was very low, the report stated.