The Goa government’s flagship social welfare schemes, Dayanand Social Security Scheme, Griha Aadhar Scheme and Ladli Laxmi Scheme have serious deficiencies in identification of beneficiaries, including cases where disbursements were granted to the dead, according to a 2017 report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). As many as 6,223 of 98,644 senior citizens, 3,327 of 32,141 single women; and 1,162 of 11,001 differently-abled beneficiaries availed of financial assistance aggregating Rs 40.34 crore under Dayanand Social Security Scheme (DSSS) between 2012 and 2017 though they were not eligible for the benefits, the report said.
The scheme provides monthly financial assistance to those whose annual per capita income is less than Rs 24000. As many as 5227 applicants were not senior citizens, but used that category, says the report. Under the scheme, 25,176 of the 1.5 lakh beneficiaries have been found to be “non-genuine” and sent notices. This flaw itself has cost the government Rs 18.86 crore, says the report.
“The implementing departments did not conduct comprehensive scrutiny of applicants as well as physical survey to identify ineligible beneficiaries. The software system developed for operation and management of the scheme was flawed as it did not have complete and accurate data on all beneficiaries. The system of identification of bona fide beneficiaries was thus rendered impossible,” reads the CAG report.
“There was considerable leakage of Government money by way of disbursement of financial assistance to ineligible, expired, bogus beneficiaries as well as beneficiaries availing of overlapping benefits under other schemes and those receiving benefits more than once under the same scheme.”
The audit also pointed to overall delay in sanctioning financial assistance in 75 per cent cases under the DSSS, 82 per cent cases under Griha Aadhar Scheme and 98 per cent cases under Laadli Laxmi Scheme. Griha Aadhar is for married women whose annual family income doesn’t exceed Rs 3 lakh and Ladli Laxmi Scheme is a fixed deposit scheme for girl child, which can be availed between any time, or before she turns 45. Financial assistance to 48,630 girls are not available in the database in Ladli Laxmi Scheme, with the CAG pointing to need of biometric identification for most schemes.
Most shocking were the findings where the audit matched data from Chief Registrar of Births and Deaths and mapped it to data on beneficiaries, revealing that of the 108 beneficiaries under DSSS and 31 Under Griha Aadhar, who availed Rs 28.18 lakh and Rs 6.23 lakh between 2012 and 2017, had expired but were in receipt of recurring financial assistance from multiple schemes, the report reads. Another bunch of dead persons, whose address had changed, had benefited with Rs 22 lakh under DSSS and Rs 5.38 lakh under Griha Aadhar Schemes.
The government also was hoodwinked by 18 senior citizens who registered more than once using different registration numbers, application IDs and took away Rs 41.94 lakh, says the report. The data analysis also revealed that 123 beneficiaries under DSSS and 172 beneficiaries under Griha Aadhar Scheme owned four-wheelers, but were categorised as vulnerable and took home financial assistance of Rs 61.04 lakh and Rs 80.05 lakh, respectively.
The Ladli Laxmi Scheme, designed to reduce financial burden on a parent at the time of the daughter’s marriage, was the most abused, with 61 per cent of the 48,630 beneficiaries taking home Rs 294.63 crore though they were already married when they submitted the applications, said the report.