Skip to main content

RK's Plainspeak. Model Disrobed, CAG Flicks Fig Leaf

By RK Misra*
Time discovers truth. In India, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) does this job. No wonder the Gujarat model,assiduously used by erstwhile chief minister Narendra Modi to catapult himself to the prime ministerial calling, lies in tatters after the CAG placed it’s report for the period ending March 31, 2014 on the table of the Gujarat Assembly on March 31, 2015.
The report provides a classic example of how marketing savvy politicians-in- power use all the elements of brand building – good advertising, repeat messaging, catchlines and chest thumping-to go places. The CAG has taken the government apart for financial indiscipline and poor spending. ” The fiscal deficit increased from Rs 15,513 crores in 2009-10 to Rs 18,422 crores in 20013-14. It also pointed out the non-submission of utilization certificates of Rs 7420.40 crores bringing out the lack of monitoring by the respective departments. Modi ruled Gujarat from 2001 to mid-2014 before taking over as Prime Minister. One of the governance claims trumpeted from rooftops was the revenue surplus. See how.
The CAG has brought out that the Gujarat government ‘willfully’ showed revenue expenditure of more than Rs 1600 crores as revenue surplus in 2013-14.”The Gujarat government wrongfully budgeted and booked expenditure of Rs 1,462.75 crores on account of grants-in-aid and expenditure of Rs 170.75 crores on account of subsidy under the capital section instead of the revenue section.This resulted in understatement of revenue expenditure and overstatement of revenue surplus to the tune of Rs1,633.50 crores’, the report states pointing out an increase in primary deficit from Rs 4331 crores in 2012-13 to Rs 5,090 crores in 2013-14.
The report also throws light on the performance of the Gujarat state government- run public sector undertakings.Twenty of the total 72 working PSUs have incurred losses to the tune of Rs 1,111.85 crores while remaining have earned profits totaling 3,363.96 crores. ”A review of the latest three CAG audit reports shows that the losses were controllable with better management”. It also points out that the returns on the government investment in the PSUs has been negligible. ”In the period of the last five years,the state government invested Rs 24007 crores.the average return by way of dividend on the investment in government companies and statutory corporations was 0.31 per cent only”, it noted.
The CAG has taken the government to task for serious lapses in land revenue management and for giving away grazing land for industrial purposes ignoring the local requirements.A performance audit on lease of government land showed that in the case of eight districts the data in the software did not match with the data as per records.Even when the area of grazing land was not sufficient with reference to number of cattle of the area,even then grazing land was irregularly granted on lease for industrial purposes, it states.
The CAG report also points out that the state government favoured Adani group owned Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone(SEZ) in land allotment in kutch to the detriment of the environment. Land measuring 1,840 hectares and 168.42 hectares meant for solar salt and salt washery projects respectively had been provisioned for. However the government submitted a fresh proposal seeking approval from the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) as a diversionary measure.No sooner was the in-principle approval granted that a recovery of Rs 87.97 crore was made from the user by the forest department and the land was gone!
The Modi government of the time in Gujarat has also been singled out for the rough end of the stick for it’s inability to stem the decline in the child sex ratio in the state. In a lucid observation it says ”the state government has failed to investigate where there were 13.29 lakh less deliveries despite 70.95 lakh pregnancies registered between 2009 and 2014.Deliveries registered through e-mamta portal were only 57.66 lakhs.Of the 181 cases registered under the PCPNDT Act (diagnosing the sex of the foetus) only 48 cases were chargesheeted with a mere six convictions.Despite Supreme Court orders that such cases should be finalized within six months,there are cases pending since the last 12 years. According to the 2011 census there has been a decline in sex ratio at birth in 15 of the 26 districts of the state, it observed adding that the state has failed to formulate a child protection policy.
Education comes out as another sad story.The implementation of RTE as well as other educational schemes,particularly in the tribal areas has been rated as poor by the CAG in it’s social sector audit.”The expenditure against available funds was only 12.67 per cent in 2011-12,14.09 per cent in 2012-13 and 22.42 per cent in 2013-14. Cases of diversion of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds, a central to state sponsored ashram shaala and eklavya model schools, both state sponsored schemes was also noticed.
Rs 89.55 crores allotted under the Rashtriya madhyamik shiksha abhiyan as advance was wrongly shown as expenditure and incorrect figures reported to the Centre.Against a student-teacher ratio of 40:1 in primary schools there were cases of the ratio being 156:1 and in upper primary schools where the ratio should be 35:1 there were places where it was found to be 363:1. Sixty four schools with a total strength of 5,698 students had no teachers while 874 schools had only one teacher each. And so it goes on…. This is the CAG certified ‘Gujarat Model’ in a nutshell.
---
*Senior journalist. This article also appeared in http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in/

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization