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A compliance audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, has listed a series of oddities, including unnecessary procurement of modems for Rs 3.57 crore, outstanding dues towards sale of radioactive material by an independent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy, deficiencies in monitoring CSIR projects and failure to develop a dedicated workforce to operate a solar thermal power plant in Haryana created at the cost of Rs 46.36 crore.
The ‘Compliance Audit on scientific and environmental ministries and departments’ report, ending March 2017, also noted that plans to build an independent satellite navigation system, to be operational by December 2011, still remained in the dock.
The Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC), an initiative of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was to build an independent satellite navigation system for India and surrounding region, extending up to 1,500 km.
The audit report noted that NAVIC was approved in May 2006 at a cost of Rs 1,420 crore to establish an indigenous satellite-based navigation system over the Indian landmass, and “an expenditure of Rs 1283.93 crore has been incurred on the programme so far.”
“The system has yet to be operationalised due to delays in execution of contracts, deficient monitoring of programmes and inadequate follow-up. In addition, Rs 3.57 crore were spent on unnecessary procurement of modems,” it said.
Further, it noted that as the life of a navigational satellite is 10 to 12 years and the satellites already launched under the programme remained idle for 14 months to four years, delay in realisation of the NAVIC programme would limit the duration of their utility once the programme became operational.
Referring to the Board of Radiation and Isotopes Technology (BRIT), an independent unit under DoAE, the audit report said: “It failed to take timely action to establish proper mechanism for realising payments towards sale of radioactive material and allied products, which resulted in outstanding due of Rs 10.71 crore pending for recovery.”
BRIT provides products and services based on radiation and isotopes for applications in healthcare, agriculture, research and industry to various government and non-government users on payment basis which is supposed to adhere to terms that if the payments were not received within the stipulated time, further supply was to be suspended without any formal notice.
“As of January 2017, an amount of Rs 19.07 crore was due from customers in 942 cases for sale of radioactive materials. Of these, Rs 2.75 crore in respect of 154 cases pertained to the period prior to 2010,” the report said.
The compliance report also states that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy did not adhere to “instructions on parameters for preparation of outcome budget.”
It noted, “Discrepancies in data maintained by MNRE and state nodal agencies rendering the outcome budget unreliable in terms of information on the programmes supported by the Ministry.” The period of financial years 2013-14 to 2016-17 was selected for analysis of outcome budget.
The report also audited the 27 Eleventh Five Year Plan projects under National Laboratory Scheme of CSIR and revealed “deficiencies in monitoring, shortfall in the number of meetings these agencies had to conduct to oversee the implementation of the projects and noted discrepancies in the preparation of Project Completion Reports.”