CAG points to Goa losses, Oppn attacks state govt for lack of prudence

Panaji, Aug 13 (IANS): Referring to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in which it has observed how the state faced losses, the opposition parties of Goa have said that the BJP government in the state has been exposed for not exercising prudence in spending.

The CAG report tabled in the assembly has pointed out that the failure of the Goa police to pay the annual spectrum charges to the Central government on time resulted in an avoidable payment of late fee of Rs 2.39 crore. It also mentioned that the Goa government faced a loss of Rs 1.91 crore due to the procurement of large quantities of tur dal without any assessment of consumer demand and lifting capacity of Fair Price Shops.

Reacting to the observations in the CAG report, Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao said that the government is not exercising any prudence in spending. “They are playing with figures to show that they are within the fiscal law,” Alemao said.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has categorically stated in its report that the Goa government has violated the Goa Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (GFRBM) Act. This vindicates my stand in the just concluded Budget Session of the Goa Assembly,” he said.

“In the general discussion on the budget, I had brought to the notice of the Chief Minister that his figures showing the government is working within the parameters of fiscal responsibility are wrong. They are clearly erroneous and misleading,” Alemao stated.

“The CAG has observed that the outstanding debt of the state government to gross state domestic product(GSDP) increased from 26% to 32%. The ceiling under the GFRBM Act is 25%, “ he pointed out.

Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said the CAG report has exposed what his party had said regarding the scam in the purchase of tur dal. “I had then said that Rs 1.91 cr worth tur dal was purchased without justification. This has been indicted in the CAG report. If you go indepth into the CAG report, this BJP government in the state has been completely exposed,” Sardesai said.

The CAG report on the home department stated. “Failure of Goa police department to pay annual spectrum charges to Government of India on time resulted in avoidable payment of late fee of Rs 2.39 crore.”

“The main duty of the state police force is the maintenance of law and order within the state and wireless communication systems play an important role in this function. Ministry of Communication, Department of Telecommunication, Government of India is responsible for facilitating faster means of communication through the allotment of necessary spectrum,” it said.

“Till March 2018, the department had paid only Rs 0.07 crore. The total amount payable worked out to Rs 23.77 crore, which included a late fee of Rs 19.38 crore. The Ministry conveyed waiver of late fee upto June 2018 on all networks existing prior June 1, 2004 and requested all states to clear their dues at the earliest, but not later than December 06, 2018,” it further said.

“Thus, with the waiver of late fee of Rs 19.38 crore, the liability of the department as on March 31, 2018 was ` Rs 4.39 crore. Accordingly, the department should have cleared the outstanding dues of Rs 4.86 crore by June 30, 2018. However, the department continued to make part payments which resulted in levy of late fee of `Rs 2.39 crore,” it said.

The CAG also pulled up the Goa government over a loss of Rs 1.91 crore due to procurement of large quantities of tur dal without assessment of consumer demand and lifting capacity of Fair Price Shops.

The tur dal wastage issue had come to light in August 2022 after the government had issued advertisements seeking bidders to dispose it off.

The CAG-2021 report, tabled in the House during the monsoon session that culminated on Thursday, said: "During Covid-19 pandemic, Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (DCS&CA) decided to provide relief to the 2.04 lakh Above Poverty Line (APL) and Annapurna (ANP) ration card holders through supply of one kg tur dal for four months (April to July 2020) under Public Distribution System."

"Sale of 100 MT of tur dal was planned through the Goa State Horticultural Corporation Ltd (GSHCL), while the remaining tur dal was to be sold through Fair Price Shops (FPS). Accordingly, Civil Supply Department had placed an order with National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) for supply of 800 MT of tur dal.

It noted that though the Secretary, DCS&CA had granted post-facto administrative approval and expenditure sanction of Rs 6.80 crore for procurement of 800 MT, the Goa government, in its cabinet meeting (22/04/2020) resolved to distribute 408 MT tur dal, one kg per card for a period of two months (April and May 2020).

NAFED had supplied 400 MT of tur dal, out of which only 139.57 MT (34.23 per cent) was lifted by FPS during April-May 2020, while only 16.42 MT of the balance 260.43 MT was lifted by FPS.

The reason for the low off-take was the poor response from the ration card holders, the report said.

The GSHCL refused to lift the tur dal as they were procuring polished dal from the open market at Rs 73/kg, which was preferred by consumers, as against the partially polished tur dal supplied by DCS&CA at a higher price of Rs 80/kg. Thereafter, the education department agreed to lift the remaining 241.21 MT for distribution under the Mid-Day Meal scheme.

However, a quality check carried out by the Food and Drugs Administration at the behest of the secretary, civil supplies, revealed that the entire quantity of tur dal was “unsafe food”.

Efforts to dispose off the tur dal as ingredients for cattle/poultry feed did not fructify as the tur dal was not suitable even for that as per the report of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The audit noticed that before taking up procurement, the department failed to assess the demand, including consumer preference for polished


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Title: CAG points to Goa losses, Oppn attacks state govt for lack of prudence

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