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CAG criticises Delhi’s financing, Kejriwal cries foul

Arvind KejriwalNew Delhi, (IANS) : The CAG has pulled up the Delhi government for its over-budgeted estimates in 2015-16 and disproportionately higher expenditure in the last quarter of the year, calling it “a breach of financial propriety”.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) made the remarks in its report on state finances for the fiscal 2015-16, tabled in the assembly on Friday.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the report politically-motivated and accused the auditor of targeting only the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

“(The) CAG is indulging in politics. I would be happy if it points out flaws in our work and we will correct them. But it is not right if it only audits our finances but not of the other states,” Kejriwal said.

In its report, the auditor recommended to the city government to devise a suitable mechanism to “avoid rush of expenditure in the last quarter and the last month of the financial year”.

It also asked the government to improve its budgeting process and ensure more realistic Budget estimates.

“Against a total provision of Rs 42,809.39 crore during 2015-16, an expenditure of Rs 35,434.86 crore was incurred, which resulted in savings of Rs 7,374.53 crore (17.23 per cent),” the report said.

Such large-scale savings indicate that estimates were not prepared after adequate scrutiny of the projects and schemes, it stressed.

On rush of expenditure during the last quarter of the fiscal, the CAG report pointed out that the expenditure incurred by various departments in March 2016 and the last quarter of 2015-16 ranged between 51.27 per cent and 100 per cent of the total expenditure.

“…rush of expenditure particularly in the closing months of the financial year is regarded as a breach of financial propriety and should be avoided,” it said.

The report added the reasons for disproportionately higher expenditure were awaited from the government.

In a veiled reference to Narendra Modi-led central government, Kejriwal said the CAG was acting under pressure.

“When the CAG was going to conduct the audit of the DCW (Delhi Commission for Women), we asked them do so for the last 10 years. But they only audited the two years when Swati Maliwal was the DCW chief,” Kejriwal said.

“Why did they not audit accounts for the eight years under Sheila Dikshit’s rule? CAG should clarify what is their relation with Sheila,” the AAP leader said.

In the audit report on Delhi’s social sector, the auditor noted that the AAP governmenr spent around Rs 29 crore on advertisements outside Delhi which, it said, “was beyond the responsibility of the Delhi government”.

Kejriwal responded that there was “nothing wrong with telling people outside Delhi about the good work done by the government”.

“We gave advertisements outside Delhi and would continue to do so,” the Chief Minister said.

“There was a time when the CAG exposed 2G and Commonwealth scams, but now it is indulging in politics and telling us if we should issue advertisements outside Delhi or not,” he said.

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