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CAG accuses Haryana govt of ‘financial impropriety’

‘Spent public funds worth crores of rupees to promote certain individuals,not government policies’

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigrah | Updated: March 14, 2014 12:28:15 pm

The Haryana government used public funds worth crores of rupees for promoting “certain individuals” under the garb of its advertisement policy. Questions have now been raised by the office of Comptroller and Auditor General,that has accused the state government of “financial impropriety”.

The CAG has specifically pointed out certain instances where the state government has been accused of not following the financial propriety.

“Audit scrutiny of records revealed that the department of Information,Public Relations and Cultural Affairs had planned to give Mast Head/ strip advertisements in major newspapers daily from January,2013 based on decisions taken in a meeting held (December 2012) under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister of Haryana. The minutes of the meeting,were,however,not prepared and issued. The advertisements appeared daily in various newspapers from January 01,2013 to February 07,2013. However,the advertisement was abruptly stopped on February 8 without citing any reason or any written orders of the competent authority. Further,it was noticed that format of the advertisement was such that it had joint photographs of Chief Minister,Prime Minister and the Chairperson of UPA. The advertisements highlighted individuals instead of plans or schemes of Government of Haryana,” the CAG mentions.

“Thus,the objective of the department to make the public aware about policies and schemes of the department was not achieved through these advertisements. Therefore,out of the sanctioned amount of Rs. 3.46 crores,an expenditure of Rs. 2.35 crores (payment made so far) on advertisements was against canons of financial propriety as the public money was utilised directly or indirectly for the benefits of the individuals”,the CAG adds. Documents accessed by The Indian Express reveal how the state government had been ‘misusing’ public funds for giving advertisements to even non-empanelled publications in violation to its own policy.

“One magazine Rail Bandhu started publication from May 2011 and received advertisements in August 2011 – just three months after start of publication that is against the policy guidelines. Amount of Rs. 1.14 crores incurred was not only irregular but also amounted to undue favour to the ineligible newspaper”,the CAG report reads.

The CAG has also raised its eyebrows on the expenditure of Rs. 10.98 crores incurred by Haryana government for giving advertisements to TV channels and has called it “against the canons of financial propriety”.

“Scrutiny of records revealed that spots/ jingles regarding schemes of various departments,spots/ jingles namely – Mhara CM,Hooda Sahib ne khol khajana,Bhai Bhupi Nai and CM Ellan — were issued to various TV channels along with other spots/ jingles from February 26 to March 3,2009,August 23 to 27,2009,August 31

and September 1,2009 for telecast/ broadcast. During the course of display of these advertisements,it was noticed that these spots were telling more about contributions/ popularity of an individual,i.e. CM than about the schemes of the state government”,CAG pointed

out while calling an expenditure of Rs 75.13 lakh as “misutilisation of public money”.

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