Itanagar: Amidst the chaos and violence of anti-PRC protests that gripped the Arunachal Pradesh capital in February and occupied headlines in newspapers and TV channels, findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India’s report on social, economic, general, revenue and economic (PSUs) sectors for the financial year 2016-17, which was submitted at the state legislative assembly around that time, went under the radar.
Apart from one news report about the CAG criticising the state government for anomalies in the implementation of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), other details of the report were either under-reported or not caught on by the media.
More than two months later and a closer inspection of the report shows several other anomalies that the CAG had highlighted.
The CAG noted that there were several shortfalls in the implementation and compliance of various schemes in the state.
Commenting on the implementation of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), the CAG said that as of March 2017, out of total 7,582 habitations only 2,910 habitations (38%) were fully covered under the Centre’s programme that was formulated “to enable all rural households to have access to safe and adequate drinking water”.
Schools and Anganwadi centres in the state too had suffered under the NRDWP’s lax implementation as of compiling the report. It said that out of 3,480 schools and 5,515 Anganwadis, only 2,898 schools and 1,043 Anganwadis had been provided with safe drinking water leaving a balance of 582 schools and 4,472 Anganwadis without provision of drinking water.
Water testing levels were also inadequate in the state, as per the CAG report, which said that the water quality testing laboratories were “functioning with inadequate manpower and shortfall of capability to analyse parameters” and that they “did not conform to the mandatory requirement”.
As of March 2017, the state laboratory had the capacity to examine only 38 out of 78 parameters whereas district laboratories of five sampled districts had the capacity to test only 10 out of 34 parameters as laid down in the ‘Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol’ due to shortage of machines/equipment and trained manpower.
The CAG also noted shortfall of staff at different levels of posts.
“Out of 442 schemes approved during 2012-17 in sampled districts test checked, 407 schemes were completed, but the balance 35 schemes estimated to cost Rs 17.24 crore were lying incomplete as on 31 March 2017 for five to 60 months,” it said, adding that there was “doubtful expenditure of Rs 24.42 crore incurred on procurement of various types of Galvanised Iron (GI) fittings”.
In recent years, successive state governments have publicly stated their intentions of improving the lives of adolescent girls in the state but according to the CAG, “none of the 80 Anganwadi centres inspected under the selected 16 child development programme offices out of 28 CDPOs maintained the prescribed registers for recording details of adolescent girls and the services delivered”.
It also said that there was a “huge shortfall” in allotment of funds provided for the ‘nutrition’ component.
As per guidelines, each adolescent girl is entitled to receive Rs 5 per day for nutrition but from 2012 to 2017, the actual allotment was between Rs 0.28 to Rs 1.96 per day.