Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pointed out deficiencies, including in the procurement mechanism, in the AIADMK Government's free milch cows scheme aimed to cover 60,000 beneficairies.
The CAG report on Economic Sector presented in the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the year ended March 2013, said "lack of tranparency in selection deprived needy eligible women" of the benefits envisaged in the scheme where in some cases persons over the age of 60 or those having land/or cows were selected as beneficiary.
"Deficiency in procurement mechanism resulted in procurement of poor quality cows and poor milk yield," it said.
Incidentally, disregarding recommendations of special teams constituted to study feasibility of procuring cows from Andhra Pradesh, the department proceeded with purchase of the bovines from shandies there, which "resulted in distress purchase of poor quality/over-aged" cows to achieve annual targets.
There was "hasty procurement" of the cows, such as not sticking to stipulations that they be observed for their health status and milk yield for four to five days. It was done within a day in ten village panchayats in Tuticorin, Nagapattinam and Villupuram districts, CAG pointed out.
"Scheme guidelines stipulated that lactating cows that are in their first/second lactation and not more than five years should be procured to ensure continuous production for next five lactations. In 19 out of the 45 village panchayats test checked, it was found that 329 out of 950 cows procured (35 percent) were more than five years of age," it said.
In response, the government agreed to issue necessary instructions to field officials, CAG added.
"Poor quality cows" that did did not become pregnant during artificial insemination efforts and poor milk yield were the other deficiencies pointed out by the national auditor who said these impacted the very objectives of the scheme, of improving the economic status of poor rural women and increase the state's milk productivity.