SRINAGAR: The Auditor and Comptroller General (CAG) has pointed out major flaws in the implementation of Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), a centrally sponsored scheme for housing of the poor, in the last five years in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to CAG’s recently released annual report, between 2008-’13, the Rural Development Department (RDD) passed on the scheme benefits to 45,899 people for construction of new houses, but of them a staggering 30,998 have been found ineligible to avail the benefits.
The report said RDD felt there was a shortage of 14,901 houses in five districts of the state—Jammu, Poonch, Ramban, Budgam and Kulgam—as per the BPL Census-2002.
Under the IAY, financial assistance worth Rs 70,000 in plain areas and Rs 75,000 in difficult areas (high land area) is provided for construction of houses. As per scheme guidelines, the benefit is to be provided to only rural houseless BPL families.
The scheme is funded on cost-sharing basis between the government of India and the state governments in the ratio of 75:25, and houses are constructed by the beneficiaries themselves.
“Inadmissible financial assistance of Rs 21.22 crore was paid in 7,589 cases due to wrong selection of beneficiaries. Further, excess payment of Rs 7.04 crore was made to 3,782 beneficiaries due to release of financial assistance and inadmissible rates,” the CAG said.
Criticizing the state government for not implementing the scheme in transparent manner, the CAG said the J&K government received lesser central assistance to the extent of Rs 17.56 crore during 2008-13. The reasons for this were the excessive accumulation of unspent balances, late submission of proposals for release of second installment and inadequate state’s share.
“Audit noticed that out of 12,981 assisted beneficiaries, 6,423 (49 per cent) which did not fall in the BPL Census-2002 in 12 blocks were securitized with a financial assistance of Rs 17.80 crore paid irregularly during the period 2008-13 under the scheme,” the CAG said.
It said that out of 9,282 beneficiaries holding pucca or semi-pucca houses as per BPL survey in nine blocks, 1,154 beneficiaries had been paid an assistance of Rs 3.38 crore irregularly as these beneficiaries did not qualify for any financial assistance as per the scheme guidelines.
Also 12 beneficiaries from urban and town areas were extended undue benefit under the scheme in two blocks checked which had resulted in admissible payment of Rs 3.58 lakh, the CAG said.
“The BDOs (Block Development Officers) stated that selection of beneficiaries was made on the recommendations of Gram Panchayats (GPs). This was not acceptable as the BDOs were required to ascertain genuineness of each individual case,” it said.
The CAG also said that as per RDD the rates for construction of new houses were enhanced on the recommendations of local panchayats which resulted in excess payment of around Rs 7 crore.
“…as per the BPL survey, (beneficiaries) were entitled for financial assistance at Rs 15,000 per BPL household for up gradation of their houses but the financial assistance at the enhanced rates for construction of new houses (at Rs 38,500/Rs 48,500) was paid to them during the period 2008-13. This resulted in excess payment of Rs 6.98 crore,” the report said, adding that the BDOs attributed this to enhancement of financial support to GPs.
In one of the gross violations in seven blocks scrutinized, it was found that 20 cases were selected twice during the period of 2008-13 and assistance for construction of new houses was paid twice to the same beneficiary resulting in excess payment of Rs 5.60 lakh.
“The BDOs stated that such cases would be investigated,” the CAG added.