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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 13 December, 2019

  • Min Read

CAG hints at massive diversion of LPG

Syllabus subtopic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Prelims and Mains focus: key findings and significance of CAG report, About PMUY, CAG

News: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in a report on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), has highlighted the risk of diversion of domestic LPG cylinders for commercial use, as 1.98 lakh beneficiaries had an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders.

About PMUY

The PMUY scheme was launched in May 2016 to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with clean cooking fuel. Its target was revised to eight crore LPG connections.

What did the report say?

The CAG said this level of consumption seemed improbable in view of the BPL (below poverty line) status of such beneficiaries.

13.96 lakh beneficiaries consumed 3 to 41 refills in a month. Further, IOCL [Indian Oil Corporation Limited] and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in 3.44 lakh instances issued 2 to 20 refills in a day to a PMUY beneficiary having single-bottle cylinder connection.

As on 31 March 2019, the oil marketing companies(OMCs) had issued 7.19 crore connections, which is about 90% of the target to be achieved till March 2020.

To rule out existing LPG connections in beneficiaries’ household, de-duplication was to be carried out based on Aadhaar of all family members.

Audit noticed that out of 3.78 crore LPG connections, 1.60 crore (42%) connections were issued only on the basis of beneficiary Aadhaar which remained a deterrent in de-duplication.

Errors in identification

The CAG said laxity in identification of beneficiaries was noticed as 9,897 connections were issued against Abridged Household List Temporary Identification Numbers (AHL TINs), where names of all family members and the beneficiary were blank in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 list.

Lack of input validation check in the IOCL software allowed issue of 0.80 lakh connections to beneficiaries aged below 18. Data analysis also revealed that 8.59 lakh connections were released to beneficiaries who were minor as per the SECC-2011 data, which was in violation of PMUY guidelines and LPG Control Order, 2000.

It also exposed a mismatch in the name of 12.46 lakh beneficiaries between the PMUY database and SECC-2011 data. The CAG, on field visits, also found that connections were given to “unintended” persons.

The audit also highlighted the delay of more than 365 days in the installation of 4.35 lakh connections against the stipulated time period of seven days.

About Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)

Appointed by President, nominated by PM of India + Office term – 6 years or upto 65 yrs of age & can be removed by the President on the same grounds & manner as a judge of SC.

Duties & Functions

He is the chief Guardian of Public purse & head of Indian audit & account department

Audits accounts of Union & states to ensure nothing is spent out of consolidated fund of India or of the state without the sanction of the parliament or respective state legislature

Audits government owned companies (51% stake of Gov.) as an external auditor

Reports of CAG are taken into consideration by public accounts committee (PAC)

Public accounts committee (PAC)

A committee of not more than 22 members (LS → 15 & RS → 7)

Formed every year in parliament & state legislature

A minister cannot be a member of PAC

Chairman of PAC is appointed by speaker of Lok sabha & is generally from opposition party

Independence of office of CAG

Gets security of tenure as though appointed by President, CAG may be removed from his office only on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity only in a manner as a judge of SC is removed (i.e. each house of parliament is passing a resolution supported by not less than 2/3rd of the members present & voting )

Salary & conditions of his service cannot be changed except under financial emergency

His salary is charged on consolidated fund of India & is not subjected to vote of parliament (paid salary equivalent to Judge of SC) & is eligible for annual pension

In other matters, his conditions of service shall be determined by rules applicable to an IAS officer, holding a rank of secretary to GOI

After retirement, he is disqualified for appointment under union or state government

Source: The Hindu


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