Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gross irregularities in CSD

04 sep 2012
A series of communications between Controller of Defence Accounts and the Defence Ministry reveals how gross irregularities occurred in the purchases in defence canteens across the country.
The exchange of letters between the auditors and Ministry exposes the tough resistance by forces to adhere to financial transparency in canteen purchases, involving thousands of crores per year.
“I am writing to highlight the malady that ails the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) and requires immediate attention. CSD has been held in such high esteem that it is almost sacrilegious to doubt their infallibility. Instead of groping in the dark about the functioning of CSD, which is considered to be a mascot of organised procurement system, an insight will reveal the labyrinthine corruption prevailing in the organisation.
“On the one hand the Government is endeavoring to climb the ladders of transparency, accountability, probity in public procurement process and to enhance public confidence in procurement by introducing the “The Public Procurement Bill, 2012” in Parliament, the system followed in CSD is highly opaque, discretionary, providing high degree of arbitrariness,” said Savitur Prasad, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts in a communication to several officials of Defence Ministry including the Defence Secretary.
The series of letters between the Auditor and Ministry, obtained through RTI by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, says the procurements through nearly half of the vendors are by doubtful methods.
“There are about 600 firms supplying more than 4,000 items to CSD. Almost 200-300 firms provide product whose credentials in consumer market are hardly established. The details of factory inspection and hygiene report be made public by placing on the internet, which may unravel the truth of empanelling such firms.
“It is a travesty of faith that the age old loyalties of defence personnel being stoically dependent on CSD, have been breached by PSC (Preliminary Screening Committee), by introducing product from ineligible firm,” said the auditor of defence accounts.
The auditor has pointed out several malpractices in listing a product and absence of obtaining hygiene certificates for the items sold in canteens.
There are around 34 CSDs across the country and more than 4,500 Unit Run Canteens under it to cater the 17 lakh soldiers of Army, Navy and Air Force and their families.
Two years back, the CAG was allowed to audit CSD accounts after countering stiff opposition from forces. But till date, forces are adamant not to allow the audit by CAG in its 4,500 Unit Run Canteens.
Public Accounts Committee of Parliament headed by Murli Manohar Joshi had directed Defence Ministry to go for the CAG auditing in Unit Run Canteens in December 2011. But till date, forces as well as the Defence Ministry have not yet responded positively to the mandatory directions of the PAC. The Ministry is expected to revert back to PAC by September first week, after having sought postponement of implementation deadlines many a times.-via The Pioneer
Gross irregularities in CSD

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