Failure to detect errors led to avoidable expenditure of ₹1.42 cr.
The failure of the Directorate of School Education (DSE) and the Directorate of Elementary Education (DEE) in verifying the correctness of claims preferred by the Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation resulted in avoidable expenditure of ₹21.85 crore, according to the report of the Comptroller of Auditor General (GAG) of India.
The report also said that the failure of the Director of School Education in detecting errors in textbooks led to avoidable expenditure of ₹1.42 crore.
The report tabled in the Assembly pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation (TNTBESC), responsible for printing and distributing textbooks, had been including an additional amount of 5% on the cost of paper as handling charges. But it was not a component of the production cost, as approved by the State government, in an order issued in December 2010.
The CAG report said on being pointed out by the audit, the corporation discontinued the levy in the consequent claim (May 2019) in respect of the academic year 2019-20.
“But the DSE and the DEE failed to verify the correctness of the claim submitted by TNTBESC. Their failure has resulted in the excess payment of ₹21.85 crore during the period from 2016-17 to 2018-19,” the report said.
An additional avoidable payment of ₹1.42 crore was paid to TNTBESC for printing and supplying 6,36,900 copies of books for two subjects for 11th and 12th standards. According to the DSE, reprinting was necessitated by certain conceptual errors pointed out by the teachers.
“Audit found that the conceptual errors were in the foreword and preface of the textbooks and in one to seven inner pages of these eight books. A total of ₹1.42 crore was paid to TNTBESC in March 2016,” the report said.
The report added that even though a system was put in place from 2017-18 for the scrutiny of textbooks before ordering print, the DSE had not checked or reviewed them.
The report also recommended the institutionalisation of a fail-safe rigorous checking of textbooks before mass printing.
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