CAG detects fraudulent subsidy transfers in UP
LUCKNOW:The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on the general and social sector for 2016-17 has found fraudulent subsidy transactions to farmers under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM).
The financial watchdog has suggested the need for the agriculture department to order a vigilance probe into the matter and take appropriate disciplinary and criminal action against guilty employees and farmers.
The report has found many other irregularities , right from selection of beneficiaries to the planning and execution of the Centre’ scheme that is aimed to raise the production of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereals by increasing the area and productivity of individual farms .
Launched in October 2007, NFSM provides financial assistance as subsidies to farmers for the required interventions.
During 2012-17, Rs 1,013.29 crore was incurred on the implementation of NFSM in Uttar Pradesh. The auditor has found fraudulent and irregular subsidy claims for the purchase of farm machinery and implements. For the purchase of rotavator and land levellers, subsidy was provided to farmers with the condition that the beneficiaries should own a tractor and furnish tractor registration document alongwith the application.
However, a cross verification by the auditor of the vehicle registration numbers of 425 beneficiaries in Bahraich, Badaun, Ghazipur, Mathura, Sambhal and Sant Kabir Nagar disclosed that 89 registration numbers (21 %) were found to be of vehicles other than tractor.
“Of the 89 registration numbers, 81 were of motorcycles and scooters, three were of cars and four were of buses and jeeps and one did not have a valid registration,” the report disclosed, adding, “This resulted in irregular payment of Rs 33.50 lakh subsidy by the department.”
The scrutiny of records also revealed that in three (Aligarh, Badaun and Mathura) out of the 10 test-checked districts, subsidy of Rs 6.93 crore in respect of 462 land levellers was given to 462 farmers who were only individuals and not a group. NFSM guidelines stipulate that subsidy on purchase of land levelers would be provided to a group of 10 farmers, and not individual farmers.
“The department should review from a vigilance angle the subsidy payments on farm machineries, implements, in all districts and take appropriate disciplinary and criminal action against employees and farmers who were responsible for fraudulent payments,” the auditor suggested.
The CAG also observed that in seven out of 10 test-checked districts, subsidy of Rs 9.39 crore was not paid to farmers during 2013-17 since funds under the respective components like rice, wheat, pulses etc were not available. It was also found that in Aligarh and Badaun districts, inter-component diversion of Rs 44.98 lakh were made during 2014-15.
It was found that deputy directors (agriculture) of Aligarh, Badaun, Chitrakoot, Ghazipur, Kanpur Nagar and Mathura purchased 6,000 electric-driven light traps costing Rs 94.35 lakh for demonstrations on pulses during 2013-17 and distributed them to beneficiaries. But they did not verify whether electricity was available in the fields selected for demonstrations, resulting in unfruitful expenditure of Rs 94.35 lakh on light traps.
The audit found that out of Rs 1,284.82 crore provided by the Central government, the UP agriculture department could utilise only Rs 1,13.29 crore (79%) for implementation of the NFSM during 2012-17 due to poor financial management.