Bhubaneswar: From disbursement of old age pension to dead persons, serious irregularities in placement-linked skill development programme to lapses in free drug distribution scheme, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has faulted the Odisha government for scams in three fronts.
This was revealed in the CAG report tabled in the Assembly on Saturday.
Pension Fund Scam
The CAG has pulled up the state government for disbursement of old age pension to dead persons and misappropriation of pension fund to the tune of Rs 10.72 lakh by panchayat functionaries, according to a report in The New Indian Express.
Verification of the pension records of selected panchayat samitis (49 out of 317 samitis) and gram panchayats (268 out of 6,798 GPs) revealed that 167 out of 1,700 beneficiaries to whom pension amounting to Rs 2.33 lakh had been paid in cash during May 2011 to March 2018 were not alive on the dates of payment of pension.
“On cross check of cash book of the Harishchandra Sahayata Scheme, meant for ex-gratia payment to the kin of deceased persons, and records of Primary Health Centres/Community Health Centres concerned with the pension payment records, audit observed that 167 beneficiaries to whom pension amounting to Rs 2.33 lakh had been paid in cash were not alive on the dates of payment of pension,” the CAG report on General and Social Sector said.
As pension continued to be paid in their name for one to 22 months after their death, it is suspected to have been misappropriated.
Placement Scheme Irregularities
Detecting serious irregularities in execution of placement-linked skill development programme under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), the CAG has recommended the Odisha government for a thorough probe into placement claims by the project implementing agencies (PIAs).
“After checking of placement records and management information system reports, audit found that 14% of training and 77% of placements as claimed by Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) seem to be false and fabricated,” said the CAG report on General and Social Sector for the year ending March 2019.
A registered society, ORMAS implementing the scheme in the State received Rs 657.9 crore during 2014-19 under DDUGKY and utilised Rs 568.43 crore (86%) as of March 2019. It claimed to have trained 1,31,854 youths and provided placement to 97,198 through 95 PIAs.
“Audit could not draw any assurance regarding the satisfactory achievement of training and placements as multiple suspected frauds have been found to be committed by the PIAs who manipulated the weaknesses in the system resulting in extension of undue financial benefits to private players,” the report said.
Holes In Health Scheme
Punching holes in the much-hyped Niramaya free drug distribution scheme and health for all initiative of the state government, the CAG has exposed massive irregularities by the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) in procurement of drugs and medical consumables along with showing undue favour to suppliers.
Coming down heavily on the Health and Family Welfare Department for the lapses, the CAG pointed out that the state government has failed to ensure unbroken supply of essential drugs to patients in public health institutions as per its own prescribed Essential Drugs List (EDL).
The audit, conducted for the years from 2016 to 2019, revealed that the procurement process was riddled with systemic flaws and there was an inordinate delay in finalisation of annual procurement plans for drugs, medical consumables and equipment, instruments and furniture (EIFs).
The OSMCL could supply only 49 per cent (pc) of the indented/approved quantity of drugs and medical consumables to health institutions during 2016-19.
Non-supply of indented quantity resulted in non-availability of essential drugs in health facilities.
The audit has also revealed that under the government’s flagship KHUSHI scheme for health and hygiene of women and girl children, sanitary napkins were procured at higher prices while undue favour was shown to a particular firm for procurement of spectacles under Sunetra Yojana for universal eye care, The New Indian Express reported.