CAG faults Tamil Nadu govt for lack of plan­ning in Amma Can­teens

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

The Comp­trol­ler and Au­di­tor Gen­eral of In­dia (CAG) while com­mend­ing the Tamil Nadu govern­ment for the so­cial ben­e­fits of Amma Can­teens, has faulted the govern­ment for the lack of plan­ning in op­er­a­tions of the sub­sidised can­teen net­work.

Ac­cord­ing to the CAG re­port of Lo­cal Bod­ies for 2014-15 tabled in the As­sem­bly to­day, based on an au­dit of four zones in the Chennai Cor­po­ra­tion and the cor­po­ra­tions of Coim­bat­ore, Tiruchi and Tirunelveli, the Amma Can­teens have helped the poor and women self-help groups, pro­vided hy­gienic, sub­sidised food, in­clud­ing clean drink­ing water to all.

But, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, there are gaps in plan­ning, in­clud­ing lead­ing to fi­nan­cial bur­den which could af­fect other schemes. While the State govern­ment de­cided to pro­vide sub­sidised food, it did not make bud­getary pro­vi­sion ex­cept for the sup­ply of rice at ₹1 a kg. For in­stance, in the Chennai Cor­po­ra­tion, in 2014-15, the in­come from Amma Can­teens is pegged at ₹37.56 crore against an ex­pen­di­ture of ₹101 crore.

The deficit of these can­teens in the over­all deficit of the Cor­po­ra­tions ranged from 13.4 per cent in the case of Chennai Cor­po­ra­tion to up to 30 per cent in the case of Tirunelveli and 160 per cent in the case of Tiruchi. The CAG did not ac­cept the Govern­ment’s ex­pla­na­tion that these are so­cial wel­fare schemes and not com­mer­cial ven­tures. The CAG points out that the ex­pen­di­ture by the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tions was in­curred with­out pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate funds in the Cor­po­ra­tion bud­gets.

No proper sur­vey

The con­cept was to pro­vide hy­gienic food to slum-dwellers, daily wage labour­ers, un­em­ployed youth and the down­trod­den at sub­sidised rates. But the cor­po­ra­tions did not con­duct a sur­vey to iden­tify lo­ca­tions where these can­teens would be needed.

Also, the dur­ing the pe­riod, pro­vi­sions such as dhall and cook­ing oil were pur­chased at open mar­ket rates con­trary to govern­ment or­ders that the Co­op­er­a­tion, Food and Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Depart­ment sup­ply these at sub­sidised rates. This re­sulted in ad­di­tional ex­pen­di­ture of ₹ 2.78 crore.

An Amma can­teen in

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