Rapping the state government for impacting the transparency in financial reporting, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said that it was “alarmed” over the booking of 33 percent of the total expenditure (Revenue and Capital) as ‘minor expenditure’.
In its scrutiny of the finance accounts of the Goa state government for 2014-15, CAG pointed out that the amount of Rs. 2,810 crore was booked under ‘Minor Head’. “Total expenditure (Revenue and Capital) recorded under 51 major heads was classified under Minor Head or ‘800-Other Expenditure’ which is alarming and affects the transparency and must be avoided. Minor Head must be operated only when the appropriate head is not provided in the account” the report said suggesting the government avoid the practice.
In 2014-15, CAG stated that the government withdrew Rs. 136.5 crore from contingency funds to pay salary of 23 departmental heads including Director of health, Goa Medical College and Chief Conservator of Forest, Principal District and Session Judge (Panaji) among others. “Goa Contingency Funds are to meet unforeseeable expenditure, The Political Action Committee (PAC) in its 62nd report had cautioned against the use of contingency funds for the payment of salary, allowances and purchase of equipment’s and warned against the recurrence of such irregularity in the future. But in 2014-15 – we observe the payment of 23 such expense which are totally foreseeable,” CAG said.
CAG while advising the state government to expedite its departmental enquiries process in cases of misappropriation of public funds, it pointed out that in none of the 21 cases booked for embezzlement of government funds – the government has not taken final action in any of the cases.
While recommending the government for tighter financial management and budgetary control, the CAG stated that the state government must avoid inflated budget estimates for expenditure. “Of the total provision of Rs. 1379 cores, 78 percent amount were substantially surrendered from 40 grants due to slow or non-implementation of schemes/programmes. The funds may be surrendered before the close of the year – so as to enable their utilisation for other developmental schemes,” the report said.