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