Shortage of ammunition for Indian Army; unfit food on trains: 10 things CAG has red-flagged
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has red-flagged issues such as shortage of ammunition to the Indian Army and unsuitable food on trains. Read the top auditor’s observations here:Updated: Jul 22, 2017 14:45 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
In its audit reports tabled in Parliament, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has highlighted issues such as poor hygiene and food quality in trains to critical shortage of ammunition in the Indian Army.
Here are 10 observations made by the country’s top auditor:
1) Critical deficiency in supply of ammunition to the army
The CAG has slammed the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in availability of ammunition to the army. It also criticised the OFB for inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the army since March 2013.
The CAG said despite serious concerns highlighted in a high-level report on ‘Ammunition management in Army’ in 2015, no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB.
“Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued. Further, majority of the procurement cases from other than OFB which were initiated by Army headquarters during 2009-13 were pending as of January 2017,” the CAG said in the report.
2) Food on trains unsuitable for consumption
Pointing out that an iron nail was found in a plate of cutlets offered to a passenger travelling on the Lucknow- Anand Vihar terminal double decker last year, the CAG has slammed the Indian Railways for serving food articles such as recycled, contaminated and expired items and unauthorised water brands “unfit for human consumption”.
In a joint inspection conducted in collaboration with officials of the Indian Railways at 74 stations and 80 trains between July and October 2016, the country’s top audit body observed grave deficiencies in the food hygiene standards, including fungal growth around the “petha” (sweets) pieces served to passengers.
Cockroaches, rats, insects and dust was noticed in the pantry cars of the premier Duronto trains, while 100 unsold ‘parathas’ were found in the base kitchen of the North Central Railways for reuse and recycling, while numerous such discrepancies were noticed on different trains and stations: Buckets of drinking water and beverages kept in the vestibule near the toilet area in the Paschim Express – uncovered food items kept on the floor at the Chapra station.
3) Shocking lapses led to Indian Navy’s worst accidents
Shocking lapses led to two of the worst Indian naval accidents involving submarines in which 20 personnel lost their lives, a report by the CAG revealed.
Russian-built submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank after an explosion killing 18 sailors in August 2013 and two officers were killed in a fire on INS Sindhuratna the following year, an accident that led to then navy chief Admiral DK Joshi’s resignation.
Citing the findings of a naval inquiry, the latest CAG report said the operational deployment of INS Sindhurakshak was simply not justified.
“Submarine authorities concerned did not properly assess the crew fatigue, besides, the submarine was holding ammunition nearing life expiry,” the report quoted the naval Board of Inquiry (BoI) findings. The submarine was disposed in June 2017 and its final resting point is 3,000 metres under the Arabian Sea.
The report said the navy’s BoI also brought out that complete ‘Work Up’ – mandatory drills in naval parlance – of the submarine was not conducted.
4) Six telecom companies under-reported revenue by over Rs 61,000 crore
Private telecom operators have understated revenues worth over Rs 61,000 crore from 2010 to 2015, leading to a shortage of payment to exchequer, a report by the CAG has revealed.
The CAG audited six telecom companies — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea, Reliance Communication and Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd.
The report tabled in Parliament said the companies under-reported their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) by Rs 61,064 crore during 2010-2015. This reduced the government’s earnings in the form of spectrum charges and licensing by Rs 7,697.6 crore.
5) Expired medicines at govt hospitals, acute shortage of doctors
Unspent public health funds of over Rs 9,500 crore, using expired and substandard medicines at government hospitals and acute shortage of doctors and specialists is plaguing India’s public healthcare delivery, showed the CAG’s performance audit of reproductive and child health under Union health ministry’s flagship National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
The health secretary dismissed the report saying these were stray gaps in an otherwise robust system.
“These are stray incidents and shouldn’t generalize. We now have an absolutely robust quality control mechanism in place,” said CK Mishra, secretary health.
The report found in 14 states medicines were issued to patients ‘without ensuring the prescribed quality checks and without observing the expiry periods of drugs, thus exposing patients to grave risks.’
The states in question are Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
6) 60% shortfall of central funds to Assam for flood management
A CAG report has observed that there has been a 60% shortfall in release of central funds to Assam for implementing flood management programme.
The report comes at a time when the state is grappling with flood situation in 13 districts in which 73 people have died. Till July 19, five lakh people were affected in the latest wave of floods.
The CAG noted that the Centre was to share Rs 2043.19 crore with Assam for implementing 141 projects in the state between 2007-08 and 2015-16. Of this, it released Rs 812.22 crore, a shortfall of Rs 1230.97 crore or 60%.
7) Holes in crop insurance schemes
The CAG has picked several holes in the crop insurance schemes including Narendra Modi government’s flagship Pradhan Manti Fasal Bima Yojana (PMBFY), saying delays in release of compensation by states to affected farmers defeated “the objective of providing timely financial assistance”.
In its audit report on agriculture crop insurance schemes, the CAG highlighted irregularities in disbursing claims by banks and financial institutions to farmers’ accounts under the crop insurance schemes and recommended introduction of a mechanism to ensure that state governments’ shares are received in time.
8) Road ministry’s plan caused Rs 1.85 crore unfruitful expenditure
The road ministry’s inefficient planning and monitoring led to unfruitful expenditure of Rs 1.85 crore on the eight traffic counters procured from Canada in 2008, the CAG has said.
“The ministry procured (March 2008) eight Weigh-in-Motion cum Automatic Traffic Counter cum Classifiers. While two machines were commissioned after a delay of almost eight years, the remaining machines were still lying uninstalled,” the government auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said in report tabled in Parliament today.
The machines were procured from International Road Dynamics Inc Canada at a cost of CAD 462,659.00 ( Rs 1.89 crore, including transportation of Rs 2.16 lakh) vide Ministry’s purchase order dated 23 March, 2007 with the objective of assisting the control of overloading of vehicles and collection of electronic data, the report said.
9) Writing off Kingfisher dues to BIAL ‘untenable’
The CAG has termed a request from the Bangalore airport operator to the government to waive more than Rs 9 crore owed by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as “untenable” and an “undue favour”.
The CAG also censured the government for failing to ensure that the airport operator recovered over Rs 17 crore from various airlines.
According to a concession agreement between the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the latter collects a security fee or passenger service fee through various airlines. This fee is deposited in an escrow account.
The BIAL also has to ensure realisation of dues from airlines regularly and furnish copies of audited accounts to MoCA.
However, as per the CAG report submitted today, as of March 2014, the amount outstanding from various airlines was at Rs 16.77 crore, which increased to Rs 17.44 crore by March, 2016.
10) Gaps found in financial management, compliance of RTE Act
The CAG has said it found gaps in financial management, compliance, monitoring and evaluation of Right To Education (RTE) Act 2009.
Also, teachers were deployed for non-educational purposes in nine states in violation of the Act, said a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on ‘Implementation of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’.
The report said: “There were lacunae in the financial management of the Act like mismatch of unspent balances at the end of the year with opening balances of succeeding years during 2010-16, short release of funds, retention of huge balances by state governments, and non-adherence to expenditure norms.”
First Published: Jul 22, 2017 13:11 IST