Chandigarh Social Welfare Board audit finds irregularities

There have been irregularities in funds utilisation and functioning of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board (CSWB), reveals an audit done by the UT administration’s local audit department. It covers three financial years from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2018.

The CSWB carries out welfare activities for promoting voluntarism, providing technical and financial assistance to voluntary organisations for the welfare of families, women and children.

ONLY ONE MEETING IN THREE YEARS

The audit report (Hindustan Times has a copy after accessing it through a right to information application) released on December 2019, reads that during the three year period only one board meeting was held on October 21, 2015 instead of the mandated 12 meetings.

The UT administration also did not constitute a new board after the last CSWB chairman relinquished charge in November 2015. As a stop-gap arrangement, between April 2016 and September 2017, the CSWB appointed an ‘office in-charge’.

FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES

The board also was unable to provide documentation to the auditors for ₹17 lakh expenditure in three years.

Even though the Central government discontinued some welfare schemes and programmes in 2016, the board didn’t refund the unspent amount of around ₹20.35 lakh, received in lieu of the schemes, to the Central sponsoring agency.

The interest accrued in the account of general provident funds of CSWB employees also wasn’t deposited in employees’ accounts.

It has been observed that goods and services had been procured from the open market whereas it should have been done from the government’s e-marketplace (Gem) portal during January 2017 to March 2018

APPOINTMENTS UNDER SCANNER

The audit also questions the appointments under the Voluntary Action Bureau (VAB) programme. The report states that despite instructions by the Central Social Welfare Board in May 2015 that no new appointments could be made by CSWB, it made reappointments without the approval of the Central board. VAB assists the board in dealing with cases of atrocities on and exploitation of women and children.

NON-MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS

No check register has been maintained, in the absence of which it no verification has been done of salaries being drawn for sanctioned posts, as per entitlement of officials.

NO DETAILS OF WATER, ELECTRICITY AND TELEPHONE BILLS

Though payments have been made for water, electricity and telephone, no details have been recorded in registers.

CSWB chairperson Santosh Kumar, when contacted, said she had not received the audit report and was not aware of the matter.

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