CAG to govt: Ensure transparency in your transactions

BENGALURU: While acknowledging that Karnataka maintained its finances well below the limits laid down under Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act (KIFRA), the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has advised the government to ensure transparency in all government transactions.  In its report for the year ending ending March 31, 2017, the CAG noticed that detailed bills against abstract contingent bills were pending over a long period and large sums of money retained in personal accounts, which was against the principles of Legislative financial control.

Against total provision of Rs 1,86,052 crores, an expenditure of Rs 1,73,045 crores was incurred, resulting in an unspent amount of Rs 13,007 crores. Funds to the tune of Rs 482.35 crores were released in March 2017 from consolidated fund to implementing agencies to avoid a lapse of budget grants. Misclassifications were noticed in preparation of budget in six cases amounting to Rs 5.61 crore, wherein provision was obtained under voted section instead of charged section, the CAG noted.

Besides, expenditure of Rs 1,265.77 crore was wrongly classified under object head 059-other expenses, instead of under relevant object heads like subsidiary expenses, grant-in-aid, central aid, asset creation etc,. Supplementary provision of Rs 2047.40 crore in 26 cases was found to be unnecessary. Re-appropriation of funds in 62 cases was made injudiciously, resulting in either un-utilised provision or excess over provision. In respect of 15 grants, Rs 1,789.36 crore was surrendered in last two working days of the financial year, CAG pointed out.

Taking a look at the state’s fiscal position, the CAG noted that the state continued to maintain revenue surplus between 2012-2017 and kept fiscal deficit relative to GSDP below the limit laid under KFRA. In 2016-17, the state had a revenue surplus of Rs 1,293 crores, a decrease of Rs 496 crores over the previous year. The fiscal deficit during the same period was Rs 28,664 crores, an increase of Rs 9,495 crores compared with the previous year.  

There was compression of revenue expenditure of Rs 1,086.28 crore on account of write back of Zilla Panchayat fund and Taluk Panchayat fund balances for year of 2015-15 and adjustment of Rs 612.04 crore was remitted to consolidated fund relating to unutilized grants. There was non-adjustment of expenditure to the fund account in public account to the tune of Rs 1,012.43 crores.

The CAG pointed an increase of 13 per cent in revenue expenditure when compared with the previous year. There was 19 and 19 per cent growth under social and economic services expenditure respectively, while growth in general services was two per cent.  However, salary data in  accounts was incomplete as data of salary in respect of employees of Panchayat Raj Institutions did not reflect in accounts but got subsumed under grants in aid, the CAG added.

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