Monday, December 27, 2010

Shortcomings in functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions:CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General has expressed displeasure over tardy functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Uttar Pradesh, citing allocation of funds ''without any need-based assessment'' and inability to utilise money in a time-bound manner.

In its report on the working of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in UP for the year 2007-08, the CAG has said "as per recommendation of the 11th Finance Commission, the Centre had released Rs 933.71 crore to the state government during 2001-05 for development work like road, water supply and sanitation.

Out of this amount, the state government released Rs 921.88 crore to PRIs and retained Rs 11.84 crore at their level.

Further, Rs 43.21 crore lapsed at the Directorate (state Panchayati Raj department), due to non-utilisation of funds, the CAG said.

The report pointed out that out of the total amount of non-utilised funds, Rs 42.07 crore was meant for creating database on finances.

"The 11th Finance Commission had recommended that a database on the finances of the PRIs should be developed at district, state and central levels and the same should be made easily accessible by means of computerisation," the report said.

"The data were to be collected and compiled in standard formats prescribed by the CAG. This would have facilitated comparison of performances of the PRIs among the states.
The database was, however, not developed as of May, 2008."

In August 2005, the Centre rejected the state government’s request for the extension of time and thus, the purpose of high priority to the expenditure on creation of database and maintenance of accounts for providing accurate information on the finances of PRIs was defeated," the CAG said.

The CAG also pointed towards the non-functionality of District Planning Committees (DPCs), before which Zila Panchayats were supposed to submit their development programmes, which were to include development plans of the Kshetra Panchayats and the Gram Panchayats involved.

However, since these DPCs "remained non-functional as of June 2008", despite the state government having passed an order for the constitution of these in February 2007, there was no effective monitoring of the development programmes, the CAG report said.

Underscoring these shortcomings in the functioning of PRIs in the state, the CAG has emphasised on the need for ensuring creation of a database on finances "as per recommendations of the 11th Finance Commission and the 12th Finance Commission".

The CAG has further said that the grants should be utilised in a time-bound manner to derive the intended benefit and the state government should ensure that District Planning Committees are effective and functional.

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