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CAG report exposes glaring lapses and missing crores from Kerala treasury

The Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report highlights how the actions of officials working under the Kerala govt have caused losses to the tune of thousands of crores to the exchequer. That includes a loss of Rs 4478 crore by means of irregularities in the welfare pension disbursal. 

CAG report exposes glaring lapses and missing crores from Kerala treasury anr
First Published Sep 15, 2023, 12:13 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report found serious lapses including including a lack of accurate accounting and records for welfare pensions paid through the Kerala Social Security Pension Limited. The total amount received and disbursed to pensioners, according to the data, differed by Rs 4478 crores between 2018 and 2021. According to reports, the government has been able to explain the cause of the issue.

According to sources, the CAG report states that the transaction data for the financial years 2018–19 and 2019–20 between the pension firm and the direct benefit transfer (DBT) Cell does not match. The pension company paid Rs 11,088.09 crore to the panchayat directorate, according to information provided to the CAG by the DBT cell. However, according to company records, there were transactions totaling Rs 9699.48 crore.

In the meantime, the state government has informed the CAG that it has directed the pension firm and the panchayat director to investigate the accounts and transaction records. The government should make sure that account misuse doesn't result in corruption, the report said.

Since 2018, the pension company has reportedly been overborrowing consistently. The corporation borrowed Rs 4049 crore more than was necessary for the 2019–20 fiscal year to pay for pension distribution. The government later justified the borrowing of the funds by claiming that it was an error.

The company received Rs 1000 crore in 2018–19 from the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco). However, the audited accounting showed that there was insufficient information or justification to verify the transactions.

PWD’s construction works without acquiring land caused loss of Rs 54 crore

The Public Works Department (PWD) started three construction projects without the required land, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report, costing the state government Rs 54.08 crore in financial losses. These initiatives include work on the Nilambur and Kothamangalam-Thankalam routes, as well as the construction of a Kalmandapam (stone building) at Palakkad.

Before floating tenders for construction work, 100 per cent of the land must be acquired without opposition, according to the PWD manual. After gaining prior approval from the government, tenders may be invited if 60 per cent of the necessary land has been obtained. According to the report, only the length of the road was submitted for the bypass building project, and work began without taking into account the funding situation. Before accepting tenders, the CAG suggested that the divisional authorities (land acquisition) closely follow government requirements.

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