CAG de­tects fraud­u­lent sub­sidy trans­fers in UP

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Bra­jen­dra K Parashar [email protected]­dus­tan­

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.

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