When the new government takes over in the Maharashtra state, it will find itself sitting on a financial time bomb. The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) has pointed out that the state has failed to provide valid data on the utilisation of Rs 71,563 crore spent from the state treasury.
For each and every rupee spent from the state government’s kitty, it is mandatory to submit a utilization certificate (UC) to the state wing of the CAG, which is tasked with keeping a check on government expenditure. The state has, however, failed to submit UCs for Rs 71,563 crore and the non-compliance has been going on since the financial year 2004-05.
According to government sources, the fact that UCs have not been submitted indicates that the funds have either been misused or diverted for pecuniary gains. A senior government official said even state funds said to be spent during the 2005 floods were under question as UCs in many cases were yet to be submitted.
According to a CAG report submitted to the state legislature in June, 1.49 lakh UCs were pending till March 2013. The amount involved was R45,008 crore up to financial year 2010-11 and another Rs 11,737 crore got added on in 2011-12. Nearly Rs 15,000 crore was unaccounted for between 2011-12 and March 31, 2014.
The CAG has also expressed surprise over the state government’s policy to continue to disburse funds despite UCs being pending in such a large number of cases. In a recent meeting of CAG representatives and state government officials, it was decided that additional funds would not be disbursed unless UCs for amounts utilised till March 31, 2013, were submitted within a month. A copy of the decisions taken at the meeting are with this newspaper.
PASSING THE BUCK
“The department which disbursed the amount but failed to submit UCs is responsible for ensuring proper utilisation of funds,” said an officer from the finance department. As per the rules, the funds have to be utilised for the purpose for which they were disbursed and any deviation is treated as a serious breach.
“If no UC has been submitted for years together, there is a possibility that the funds could have been misused. These are financial irregularities,” added the officer. During the meeting between state officials and CAG representatives, it was also decided to file FIRs as early as possible in cases where misuse and misappropriation of state funds is suspected. The state has been asked to undertake a review of cases pending since the last 10 years.