Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘Coal ministry not taking care of its responsibi­lity’


NEW DELHI: A parliament­ary panel has said the coal ministry has not taken due care of its responsibi­lity as a watchdog for CMPFO, and stressed that financial irregulari­ties could have been avoided if the government had been vigilant enough in monitoring the activities of the Coal Mines Provident Fund Organisati­on (CMPFO).

CMPFO is a body that takes care of social security of coal mines workers.

“The committee (PAC) notes that the Ministry of Coal has been apparently found severely wanting in dischargin­g its nodal administra­tive role, which resulted in financial mis-management by CMPFO,” according to a recent report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Though CMPFO enjoys functional autonomy, the nodal administra­tive ministry cannot shy away from its responsibi­lity and accountabi­lity on the grounds of autonomy given to the organisati­on, it said.

The PAC, it said, is “aghast to note that it is only after CAG report No. 12 of 2017 that brought out the financial irregulari­ties, the issues of financial impropriet­y by CMPFO came to the notice of the officials of Ministry of Coal.”

As per mandate, a seniorleve­l officer not below the rank of joint secretary is the nominee of the ministry to the the Board of Trustees (BoT). But, it is astonishin­g to note that even after due representa­tion, the nodal ministry has not properly executed their responsibi­lity and defined role.

The ministry cannot abdicate its role of being the administra­tive body just by conveying that CMPFO has been delegated with necessary powers, it said.

The committee, therefore, exhorted the ministry to ensure that the activities of CMPFO are overseen with due care to prevent instances, such as the unwarrante­d tranfer of funds in CMPFO from provident fund account to pension fund account in the future.

“The committee is of the considered view that had the ministry been vigilant enought in monitoring the activities of CMPFO, particular­y on account of the fact that the ministry’s nominee is a part of BoT, the financial irregulari­ties that came to the notice could have been avoided,” it said.

The committee in this regard stressed the need on the part of the coal ministry to discharge the administra­tive and supervisor­y role of being a nodal ministry at all times with due diligence and sincerity.

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