The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has pulled up the Odisha Government for non- submission of 28,529 utilisation certificates for grants given to various bodies involving an outstanding amount of Rs 38,427 crore as on March 31, 2018.
High pendency of utilisation certificates (UC) is fraught with the risk of misappropriation or diversion of funds and fraud, the CAG said in its latest report on the state's finances for the 2017-2018 fiscal, which was tabled in the Assembly on Thursday.
UCs in respect of grants-in-aid provided for specific purposes should be obtained by the departmental officers from the grantees and forwarded to the Principal Accountant General by June 30 of the succeeding year, it said.
"Non-submission or delay in submission of UCs weaken the control on utilization and provides scope for misutilisation or diversion of funds," the CAG report said.
During 2017-18, the government released Rs 21,780 crore as grants-in-aid for which UCs were not received in respect of Rs 16,391 crore (75.26 per cent), it said.
There was also no assurance that the expenditure of Rs 16,391 crore had actually been incurred for the purposes for which it was authorised, it said.
While 22,250 UCs involving an outstanding amount of Rs 13,486.31 crore were awaited up to 2015-16, as many as 3,361 UCs for Rs 8,550.44 crore remained pending for 2016-17, it said.
Eight major defaulting departments, including Panchayati Raj and Housing and Urban Development, accounted for 89.71 per cent of the total amount for which UCs were outstanding as of March 2018, the CAG report said.
In comparison to 2016-17, the total amount for which the UCs were pending increased by Rs 7,894 crore (25.85 per cent) in 2017-18, it said adding UCs amounting to Rs 1,044.89 crore were pending for over ten years in 22 departments as of March 2018.
Noting that the government had mentioned that submission of UCs was a continuous process, the CAG said the position with regard to submission of UCs had not improved so far.