30 TN depts sit­ting on au­dit re­ports, some for over a decade

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - C SHIVAKUMAR

THIRTY Tamil Nadu govern­ment de­part­ments have a high pen­dency of 6,170 au­dit in­spec­tion re­ports, in­clud­ing 26,140 paras, dat­ing as far back as 1991-92, ac­cord­ing to data from the Prin­ci­pal Ac­coun­tant-Gen­eral (Gen­eral & So­cial Sec­tor Au­dit), which func­tions un­der the con­trol of the Comptroller and Au­di­tor-Gen­eral (CAG) of In­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion avail­able with Ex­press, the Rev­enue depart­ment has the high­est pen­dency of 1,525 au­dit in­spec­tion re­ports, which in­cludes 5,714 paras (ob­ser­va­tions made by Prin­ci­pal Ac­coun­tant- Gen­eral) from as far back as 1991-92, well over two decades ago.

The health depart­ment is ranked sec­ond with 686 pend­ing in­spec­tion re­ports, which in­clude 3,148 paras dat­ing as far back as 2004-05 fol­lowed by ru­ral de­vel­op­ment depart­ment with 521 pend­ing in­spec­tion re­ports, in­clud­ing 2,425 paras, go­ing back to 2009-10.

Usu­ally, au­dit ob­ser­va­tions are sent to the con­cerned min­istry, depart­ment or pub­lic sec­tor units or State govern­ment com­pa­nies for a re­sponse. The min­istry or State gover nment de­part­ments have to re­spond to such ‘draft para­graphs’ — as each ob­ser­va­tion is called — within a fixed time frame and may also dis­cuss them with CAG of­fi­cers. Fol­low­ing the re­sponse, un­re­solved is­sues are in­cluded in an in­spec­tion re­port is­sued to the head of the au­dited en­tity (as well as the ad­min­is­tra­tive head) with the most im­por­tant is­sues be­ing com­piled into the au­dit re­port re­leased to the pub­lic.

THE fi­nal au­dit re­ports are then sub­mit­ted to the Fi­nance Min­istry (or the State fi­nance depart­ment) which then sub­mits them to Par­lia­ment or the Gov­er­nor of the State. All CAG re­ports are pub­lic doc­u­ments. All State de­part­ments are also re­quired to pre­pare ‘ac­tion taken’ notes on the var­i­ous ob­ser­va­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions made by CAG and sub­mit them to Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee which over­sees govern­ment fi­nances) or the Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Un­der­tak­ings (which over­sees the fi­nances and func­tion­ing of govern­ment com­pa­nies).

It is learnt that a to­tal of 1,250 ac­tion taken notes (ATNs) are pend­ing from eight de­part­ments as on March 31, 2018. The Pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee (PAC) rec­om­men­da­tions are await­ing fi- nal­ity due to want of ATNs from the de­part­ments. The high­est pen­dency is from Rev­enue and Disas­ter man­age­ment (182) fol­lowed by Fi­nance depart­ment (175) and health and fam­ily wel­fare depart­ment (152).

It is learnt that the State Fi­nance (au­dit) depart­ment is now seek­ing a de­tailed note from all de­part­ments for a dis­cus­sion at the State- level apex com­mit­tee meet­ing.

A rev­enue depart­ment of­fi­cial told Ex­press that most of the pend­ing re­ports per­tain to en­croach­ments and as it is a sen­si­tive mat­ter and most of the cases are be­fore the courts, it is kept pend­ing. He also said that the rev­enue depart­ment was a huge depart­ment and there were also is­sues per­tain­ing to em­ploy­ees and schemes. “As long as court cases are pend­ing, the au­dit in­spec­tion re­port can’t be closed,” he added.

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