Take prompt action on CAG’s findings

The State Government or any of its administrative wings, least any Department under any circumstances, cannot afford to disregard the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India by not taking the desired but prompt and expeditious action on points raised in the report in respect of dismal scenario of performance and adhering to guidelines. We are wont to the response of the concerned State Departments treating audit reports or even findings of the Anti Corruption Bureau and Crime Branch as ordinary “routine” papers required at best to be filed as also we have been voicing concern as to how the “strong circulars” and directives issued by the General Administration Department are treated as casual, procedural and normal pieces of paper which keep on pouring in but never to be acted upon or selectively acted but daring to treat the findings of a constitutional authority enjoying the same status as the judge of Supreme Court of India , as ordinary piece of paper looks bizarre and weirdly.
Where does the level of implementation of National Rural Drinking Water Programme , a prestigious but very important Centrally sponsored scheme in Jammu and Kashmir stand, has been severely commented upon by the CAG and as many as five reminders , one after the other, from the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has not resulted in the State Government taking any action in the matter. Does such an approach not amount to aborting the scheme and depriving the common people , the ultimate beneficiaries of the programme , of getting the desired benefits? It is tantamount to wilfully failing the scheme thus fuelling the grudge and resentment among the prospective gainers against the Government at the Centre, we may deduce with due caution. If the latest communiqué of the Ministry , whereby serious concern having been conveyed to the Administrative Secretary of the Department of the PHE , is perused with the required seriousness , it only reflects the absolute recklessness shown in respect of addressing the findings of the supreme audit institution of the country which is a matter of concern. After all , what comes in between the findings of the CAG and the action taken thereon, must be made known and explanations sought immediately.
It is not an issue of the finding in respect of the last six months or a year but for the period of between 2012 and 2017 whereby too many shortcomings and irregularities have been found in implementation of the said scheme in Jammu and Kashmir but the Report is unanswered and rectifications of the shortcomings are not undertaken. Prudence and common procedural norms warrant that the State Government without waiting for receiving reminders and rejoinders , should have on its own attended the findings of the CAG and that too in time bound manner but it looks entirely unbelievable that series of reminders from the Union Ministry too should prove ineffective drawing a flak from there as the Union Under Secretary expressing surprise on even not receiving a reply from the State in response to as many as five reminders. It has been conveyed to the State Government that they were handicapped in being not in a position to reply to the CAG and thus urging for early submission of the Action Taken Report.
Transparency and accountability are two easy causalities in the administrative system of the State which sets in motion a cycle of non seriousness, no fear of any disciplinary action, assured monthly salaries and enjoying leaves and ‘field visits’ which perhaps looks very difficult to break . Unless timeframes , targets, results, performance, responsibility , probity and the like in functioning etc are accorded supreme importance and any sort of wilful non seriousness in compliance penalised , reminders would keep pouring in but Action Taken Reports after duly attending to the findings shall keep eluding the Ministries.