Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 13
India’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Lokpal, has utilised less than one-third of its sanctioned budget inviting deep concerns from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.
In its report to both Houses of Parliament, the committee noted that the Ministry of Personnel itself had so far utilised only about 68 per cent of the funds allocated to it until January 31.
“The committee notes with concern that the Lokpal has utilised a meagre 30 per cent of the sanctioned outlay. Further, analysis of the utilisation trends of various bodies under the administrative control of the Ministry of Personnel revealed that the percentage of expenditure ranged from as low as 29 to as high as 100 per cent,” the committee said in its latest report, with the Lokpal hovering at the bottom of the budget expenditure pyramid raising concerns.
Bodies under the administrative control of the ministry also include the UPSC, CBI and the CVC. The panel said in view of the Finance Ministry’s instructions imposing a ceiling limit on the expenditure that can be incurred in the last quarter and the last month of the financial year (March), it was even more concerned whether the remaining funds would be optimally used by the end of the ongoing fiscal.
“The ministry must identify factors that restrict or hinder the utilisation of funds by institutions coming under its purview and draw an action plan accordingly to improve utilisation of funds,” the panel said.
The ministry for its part told the committee that the pace of expenditure was slow due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown coupled with expenditure restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Finance in the first three quarters of financial year 2020-2021.
“Observations of the committee have been noted for adherence and compliance and necessary instructions will be issued to all organisations and a conscious effort made to utilise the allocation of funds in commensuration with the actual needs,” the ministry assured the committee.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed by Parliament in December 2013, received assent from the President on January 1, 2014, and came into force on January 16, 2014.
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