CAG Finds Lapses in PMAY Housing Scheme
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the state’s performance in general and social sectors has found instances of misappropriation of funds, loss of central government’s assistance, internal control deficiencies, underutilisation of assets, and shortcomings in implementation of rules and programmes involving Rs 203.97 crore in the financial year ending March, 2019.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana—Gramin (PMAY-G) in Kerala, it was intended to provide houses to 42,431 identified beneficiaries in rural areas. The project was to be completed within 12 months from the date of sanction. The report said non-assessment of housing shortage, lack of convergence and shortcomings in technical and quality supervision, persisted in the project implementation.
The grama panchayats had failed in selecting eligible beneficiaries and creation of permanent wait list (priority list), assisting the old and infirm in construction of houses, identifying land to landless and converging the schemes for access to basic amenities. The auditor also pointed out irregular sanctioning of houses and block panchayats’ failure to facilitate loans to beneficiaries.
There were also instances of construction of houses without obtaining building permits from GPs and clearances from Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority. The state lost central assistance of Rs 195.82 crore during 2016-18 due to its failure to attain physical and financial progress prescribed by it. Monitoring was also deficient at various levels of programme management units, the report said.
The report pointed out instances where funds released by the state government for creating public assets for the benefit of the community remained unutilised or blocked due to indecisiveness, lack of administrative oversight and concerted action at various levels.
The purchase of a mobile incinerator for Rs 2.14 crore by the local self-government department without assessing its economic viability resulted in its under-utilisation and consequent decommissioning. The failure of Kolazhy grama panchayat to adhere to the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Property Tax, Service Cess and Surcharge) Rules, 2011, led to revenue loss of Rs 37.71 lakh.
Failure on the part of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to safeguard blasted rubble obtained from the Vilappilsala Solid Waste Management Project resulted in loss of Rs 31.02 lakh and failure of Kothamangalam Municipality to collect and remit service tax in time led to a loss of Rs 23.64 lakh. The construction of a modern fish market by the corporation without proper study and correlating its design with the requirements of the vendors resulted in non-utilisation of the modern fish market constructed for Rs 23.25 lakh.
The report also pointed out the failure of district collectors and the central plan monitoring unit in complying with the Centre’s directions to convert members of parliament local area development scheme savings bank accounts into Savifix/Saviplus accounts resulted in loss of interest of at least Rs 4.76 crore.