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Railway ministry needs to be more ‘realistic’, says CAG on demand for supplementary grants

In a report tabled in Lok Sabha, CAG said excess expenditure against sanctioned estimates and expenditure without detailed estimates have been recorded by zonal railways administration.

Indian Railways | Representational image | ANI File photo
Indian Railways | Representational image | ANI File photo

New Delhi: The Ministry of Railways needs to be more “realistic” in its estimation of demand for supplementary grants, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

According to the Financial Audit of the Accounts of Union Government for the financial year ending in March 2020, the Railway Ministry was provisioned Rs 5,00,140.23 crore.

“Ministry of Railways had obtained supplementary grants of Rs 817.51 crore… in anticipation of higher expenditure at grant level. However, the final expenditure was even less than the original provisions.

“This indicates the need for a more realistic estimation of supplementary requirements after considering up-to-date expenditure and requirements at grant level,” the report read.

It also stated that the unsanctioned expenditure of the ministry was recorded at Rs 4,999.87 crore and no steps have been taken to improve the situation.

“Expenditure incurred by Indian Railways in excess of sanctioned estimates, expenditure incurred without detailed estimates and miscellaneous overpayments et cetera are recorded in objection books by the zonal railways administration and treated as an unsanctioned expenditure.

“During Financial Year 20, unsanctioned expenditure of Rs 4,999.87 crore involving 3,426 cases was incurred by Indian Railways, while in Financial Year 19 there was an unsanctioned expenditure of Rs 5,003 crore covering 3,464 cases. Thus, no steps had been taken to improve the situation,” it said.

The Railways also reported savings of Rs 43,845.39 crore under the revenue section, the report said, adding they were “mainly due to lesser appropriation to Railways funds and lesser operating expenses under fuel”.

“Savings of Rs 12,898.82 crore under capital section was stated to be on account of less expenditure than budgeted from Rashtriya Rail Sanrakshan Kosh and other Railways Funds.

“The ministry further intimated that the appropriation to Railway Funds had been reduced on account of lower resource availability at RE stage due to less revenue generation,” the CAG report stated.

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