Thursday, July 16, 2009


The grand expose’ of CAG…

It took less than 24 hours for CAG to expose something that must have literally sent tremors down the Indian economy. On July 09, 2009 CAG exposed something that many ‘powers that be’ had taken for granted. In a matter of hours, CAG produced stacks of documents that echoed the blatant wrongdoings of Indian authorities. In fact what came as the biggest surprise was that none of these harrowing exposes formed headlines in any form of media. Instead they were found discreetly as some news snippets.

Without much beating around the bush, here are a chosen few that can literally generate expression ranging ‘from jaw-dropping to mind boggling’. Starting with Ministry of Defence (MoD) which procured 3,000 Krasnapol, Terminally Guided Munitions (TGMs) and 81 laser-designators from Russia, "without necessary trial evaluation'' and "adherence to prescribed norms'' worth whopping for Rs.526 crore! In the same league the Indian Army misused around Rs.1.17 crore meant for patient care (medical funds) and used it to buy golf equipments for golf courses in Ambalaand Jalandhar! Continuing the trend, even Border Security Force (BSF) wasted over Rs.55 lakh for operation and maintenance of one of its helicopters that actually became inoperative after an accident, and further indulged in unauthorised expenditure of Rs.1.64 crore. IB bought upon itself an extra expenditure of Rs.59.61 lakh while purchasing a plot for its office building at Varanasi. Next in the line is Airports Authority of India (AAI), which has netted an extra and unnecessary expenditure of Rs.65.58 lakh in equipment purchases for various international airports. Even the scenario with service tax division is not rosy, as the actual loss of service tax was Rs.123.87 crore and is further estimated to add another Rs.15.21 crore on account of improper tax collection. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry took an immature decision and released around Rs.7 crore as advance for constructing National Press Centre without proper due diligence. Likewise, another ministry, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) made irregular expenditure of Rs.2.43 crore at its missions and posts abroad. CAG further exposed HRD Ministry’s decision of releasing Rs.8.73 crore to Bihar for certain educational projects without proper monitoring. In Jharkhand, a revenue loss of Rs.407 crore on rent, royalty, fees etc in the mining department was observed. But among all these expected and unexpected incidents of shock and awe, the biggest blow came from India’s prestigious ‘Navratnas’. Around 8 PSUs paid cash awards totalling Rs.598.20 crore to employees for excellent performance and bonus to ineligible employees. While India’s oil giant ONGC incurred extra expenditure of Rs.193.97 crore by ignoring crude oil price and in re-tendering process. BHEL on other hand awarded contracts worth Rs.26.61 crore to a banned company. When it came to creative accounting, NTPC won the competition hands-down, it overstated its profits by Rs.938 crore in 2007-08. However, the icing on the malaise came from export promotion schemes that generated a loss in duty of more than Rs.64,000 crore. In this whole epic of scam, the biggest revelation was losses accumulated in 72 government companies that stood at literally breath taking figure of Rs.94,428 crore. While it is quite evident that this is just a tip of the iceberg, imagine the consequences when the whole iceberg would be exposed. With all due credit to CAG, it should now be empowered with legal powers, until then these cases will keep occupying only snippet sections of newspapers.


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