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CAG exposes multi-crore scholarship scam

CAG exposes multi-crore scholarship scam

Hyderabad, June 21: The Andhra Pradesh Government’s much hyped scholarship scheme is full of glitches. This was exposed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report for the year ended March 2012.

The CAG findings revealed that the State Government not only erred in proper distribution of scholarship among students, but deliberately freezed the budget to delay payments. “About 24 per cent of allocated funds remained unutlised during 2008-12 with regard to post-matric scholarships, due to freezing of budget by the government,” the CAG said.

Government introduced payment of scholarships through Nodal Banks, which were to furnish the drawal particulars of scholarships and the details of inoperative accounts of students college-wise every quarter to the District Officer. However, a huge amount of Rs 176.83 crore remained undisbursed with the nodal banks, Corporate Internet Banking and PD Accounts.

“Release of funds by the government without any inputs from the corporations resulted in Rs 99.60 crore pertaining to various scholarship schemes funded by GoI and State Government being accumulated with these corporations,” the report said. The Minorities Finance Corporation accumulated Rs 80.70 crore followed by Christian Minority Corporation with Rs 10.44 crore, Urdu Academy of Andhra Pradesh with Rs 8.46 crore as of March 2012.

The CAG said that 4,156 eZpay/ATM cards were stolen during November 2010 to December 2011 in four divisions of District BC Welfare Officer, Hyderabad and an amount of Rs 17.25 lakh or almost 90 per cent of the total amount of Rs 19.12 lakh credited into these accounts was fraudulently withdrawn from 471 bank accounts.

Utilisation certificates for 70 per cent of the funds (Rs 1,122 crore) released were yet to be furnished by the District Welfare Officers/educational institutions.

Though the Centre has released Rs 16.93 crore towards the pre-matric scholarship schemes during 2008-10 as its share, the State Government did not provide its matching share including the committed liability during the period. As a result, the Centre did not release any further funds during 2010-12.

The CAG report also revealed that there were numerous errors in ePass system. Due to inadequate validation controls, ePASS application permitted processing of several irregular/excess payments/bogus claims involving an amount of Rs 64.71 crore.

There were enormous delays in sanction/disbursement of scholarship to students. Up to 19 per cent students were not sanctioned Maintenance Fees (MTF) and Reimbursement of Tuition Fee (RTF) in the same academic year during 2009-11, which resulted in the college managements collecting the fee during the year coercively from the students. The RTF and MTF amounting to Rs 6.18 crore was irregularly sanctioned to students who were admitted under Management Quota in Engineering/MBA/MCA/B Ed courses for the year 2009-10.

The State Government enhanced the rates of scholarships of students belonging to Minorities communities on par with Backward Classes from 2008-09 onwards. However, while sanctioning scholarships, the enhanced rates were not applied, thereby depriving the minority community students of the payment of enhanced rates of scholarship involving an amount of Rs 2.70 crore.

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