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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Subsidised wheat: CAG points out over Rs. 18 cr avoidable expenditure

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 15, 2014
First Published: 11:58 IST(15/7/2014) | Last Updated: 12:00 IST(15/7/2014)

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pointed out an avoidable expenditure of Rs. 18.59 crore on giving subsidised wheat to more than 1.73 lakh ineligible below poverty line (BPL) card holders in Haryana between December 2011 and March 2013.

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The CAG report on social, general and economic sectors, tabled in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on Monday, pointed out that the Haryana food and supplies department incurred Rs. 18.59 crore on subsidy at the rate of Rs. 2.02 per kg for providing wheat to 1,73,907 ineligible BPL card holders during the period December 2011 to March 2013.

There were 12,97,058 BPL families (including 3,02,500 Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families) in Haryana, according to a survey conducted by the government in July 2008, the number of which increased to 13,92,552 (14 districts in 2009 and seven districts in 2010).

The CAG report said the Government of India recognised only 7,89,000 BPL families for the issue of subsidized foodgrains and had not revised estimates after 2005. The Haryana government treated the remaining 6,03,552 BPL families as state below poverty line (SBPL) families and these families were given foodgrains out of the allotment meant for above poverty line (APL) families and the difference in the rate of foodgrains was borne by the state government, the report said.

GRAIN COMES FROM CENTRE

The Government of India allocates the foodgrains to the state governments for distribution at specially subsidised rates to families identified under the BPL and AAYthroughfairpriceshops.The state governments are required to formulate suitable guidelines for the purpose of identification of BPL and AAY families and to get the lists of BPL and AAY families reviewed every year for deletion of ineligible families and inclusion of eligible families.

The CAG pointed out that the lists of BPL/AAY families were not reviewed by the government and the survey conducted in 2011 showed that ineligible BPL/AAY ration card holders remained included in these lists.

Following a petition, the government intimated the Punjab and Haryana high court in November 2011 that 3,38,949 BPL card holders were ineligible. The court further ordered in November 2011 that BPL cards of all those who were found to have provided wrong information to obtain the same be cancelled. After cancellation of ineligible BPL card holders, the number of BPL card holders should have been 10,53,603 whereas there were still 12,27,510 BPL card holders in March 2013.

The CAG report said that due to non-cancellation of 1,73,907 ineligible BPL cards, the state government had incurred an avoidable excess expenditure of Rs. 18.59 crore on subsidy at the rate of Rs. 2.02 per kg for providing wheat to these families during the period December 2011 to March 2013.
REPLY UNCONVINCING

On being pointed out by audit, the principal secretary, food and supplies department, intimated in September 2013 that action was to be initiated by the district administration.

The CAG did not find it convincing as the department was required to cancel all the ineligible BPL/AAY cards immediately after the receipt of lists of ineligible card holders and directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court and stop supplying subsidised foodgrains.

Instead, the department continued with the act of distribution of subsidised foodgrains to them, the report said, and added that the matter was also discussed with the PS in a conference on September 27, 2013, where in it was intimated that the detailed reply would be furnished after ascertaining as to when the revised lists were submitted and when the distribution of foodgrains to ineligible BPL card holders was stopped.

However, the final outcome was awaited till January, 2014, the report added.

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