The companies incurred an avoidable expenditure of Rs 2.06 crore on gift items contravening the canons of financial propriety, CAG said
BY J P GUPTA
New Delhi: At least six public sector undertakings of the Bihar government, many of them in red, splurged generously gifting electronic gadgets and other items to Members of Legislative Assemblies, Council, journalists and some senior government officials.
The gift items included mobile handsets, wrist watches, cameras, briefcases and others. It was revealed in the audit report of the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) which raised serious objections over it and also sought replies from the PSUs in question.
The six PSUs of the state government are Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited, Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited, Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, Bihar State Educational Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited and Bihar State Text Book Publishing Corporation Limited.
“Scrutiny of records revealed (November 2016 to June 2017) that six Government companies purchased gift items valued at Rs 2.06 crore during 2014 to 2016 as per Board of Directors resolution, and distributed the same to Members of Legislative Assembly/Council (MLAs/MLCs), press reporters, senior officers and other dignitaries during 2014 to 2016,” the CAG said.
The Management of one Company, viz., Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited replied (March 2017) that the expenditure on gift items was incurred by the Company on the direction of the department and was duly approved by the Board of Directors. This PSU comes under Prohibition, Excise & Registration Department of the state government. However the CAG did not accept the reply of the PSU and said the “expenditure violated the canons of financial propriety, and was not in furtherance of the objectives of the Company.”
Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited gifted briefcase to 400 VIPs including MLAs, MLCs and others in 2015. The company incurred an expenditure of Rs 10 lakh on the purchase of these briefcases.
However replies of other PSUs over the issue were still awaited.
According to official records, Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited gifted 450 wrist watches valued at Rs 16.63 lakh in 2014 among 450 VIPs. In the next year, in 2015 the PSU gifted costlier mobile handsets to 350 VIPs. It incurred an expenditure of Rs 34.97 lakh. This way the company spent a total of Rs 51.60 lakh in gifts in two years.
Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited did not lag behind and it distributed 400 mobile handsets among the VIPs belonging to all parties and to others in 2016. The mobile phones were purchased at a total cost of Rs 34 lakh.
Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited continued its gifting culture from 2014 and gifted mobile phones, and briefcases worth over Rs 50 lakh till 2016 to over 1100 VIPs during these three years.
Bihar State Educational Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited however restricted the number of beneficiaries and selectively gifted digital cameras to only 175 VIPs in 2014 valued at Rs 18.60 lakh followed by gifting of wrist watches to equal number of VIPs in 2015 at a total cost of Rs 17.71 lakh.
Bihar State Text Book Publishing Corporation Limited is another PSU which gifted wrist watches to only 175 VIPs in 2015 valued at a cost of Rs 17.71 lakh.
For complete list of beneficiaries see next issue of Smart Governance Magazine (Print)