The Centre’s ambitious flagship Programme, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY), to boost agriculture growth in the country failed to achieve its objectives because of several irregularities and lack of adequate planning, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The CAG report, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, highlighted numerous instances of the expected benefits of the RKVY not reaching the farmers. Audit noticed shortfalls in achievement of the targeted outputs in 62 projects costing Rs. 1,404.94 cr in 19 States.
The CAG has detected several irregularities and lack of co-ordination in the implementation of the Rs 32,460-cr RKVY state governments from 2007 to 2013.
The auditor said that out of RKVY 393 projects worth Rs 6,017.2 cr that were selected for audit, financial irregularities and under-performance was detected in 150 schemes.
The RKVY was launched in the 11th Five Year Plan against a backdrop of faltering agriculture growth in the previous decades as the growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors decreased from 4.8 per cent in the 8th Five Year Plan to 2.5 and 2.4 percent in 9th Five Year Plan and 10th Five Year Plan respectively.
Yojna was designed as a State Plan Scheme with complete flexibility to the States to choose projects specifically tailored to their conditions for generating growth in agriculture and allied sectors.
“There were cases of gross mismatch in the figures of release and expenditure as reported by the Ministry and the States. While the States reported expenditure of Rs. 31916.53 cr during 2007-08 to 2012-13, the corresponding figures reported by the Ministry was Rs. 27,938.52 cr. Thus the integrity of the data was questionable,” the Report said.
Financial management under the scheme was deficient as many instances of inflated expenditure, inadmissible expenditure, etc. were noticed, the report said.
The CAG also criticised the Centre for lack of planning which resulted in a scramble for project approvals. The sheer number of projects, without exercise of informed judgment, made the programme bulky and unwieldy, leading to under-performance.
Planning process was deficient in many respects such as non-participation of the grassroot level agencies like Gram Panchayat/Gram Sabhas/Block Agriculture Planning Unit, absence of grassroot inputs in preparation of District Agricultural Plan, (DAP) deficiencies in preparation of State Agricultural Plan (SAP) such as absence of agro-climatic study etc. Audit came across these type of deficiencies in 143 projects costing Rs. 1962.29 crore.
As of September 2013, UCs for an amount of Rs 2,610.07 cr were outstanding from 26 states. Short release of funds worth Rs 154.65 cr was noticed in three states adversely affecting the project delivery.
The CAG said that excess expenditure of Rs 106.13 cr without the approval of state-level sanctioning committee was noticed in 50 projects in seven states. “Grants of Rs 759.03 cr instead of being used for the intended purpose were found parked in personal ledger accounts and personal bank accounts in 11 states”, it said.
“In Haryana, Maharasthra, Meghalaya and West Bengal, diversion of RKVY funds (Rs 114.45 cr) to other schemes was noticed”, it added.
The CAG pointed out that the response of the farmers in certain projects was poor due to high costs involved. The farmers could not get benefit of the new agro technology training. Absence of interface between farmers and technical officials led to non-propagation of latest technology in an adequate manner. Poor implementation of the projects led to putting extra burden on the farmers.