L-G Flags ‘Gross Violation’, ‘Inordinate Delay’ in Audit of Accounts in Universities under Delhi Govt by CAG

Delhi’s lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has pointed towards a “gross violation of accounting procedures, financial mismanagement and inordinate delay” in auditing in the public education sector, under the higher and technical education department headed by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

While disposing of a file recently in his capacity as the chancellor, for audit of accounts of the Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences & Research University (DPSRU) for five years between 2015-16 and 2020-21 by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the L-G expressed serious concerns over the “undue delay” in the conduct of audit of the university and has asked the vice chancellor to submit an explanation along with details of officers responsible for the lapse within 15 days.

A proposal to get the accounts of DPSRU pertaining to 2015-16 audited by the CAG was cleared by the then lieutenant governor in May 2019.

DPSRU moved the proposal under the provisions of section 27 of the University Act and section 20 of the CAG (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service), Act 1971, instead of the relevant and applicable Section 19(3) of the CAG Act, it has been said, and this essentially delayed the audit.

CAG had also asked that the entrustment of audit of accounts of four other universities — Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT-Delhi), Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW), Delhi Technological University (DTU), and Netaji Subhas University of Technology (NSUT)— be also conveyed under section 19(3).

Officials said it took the Delhi government over a year to comply with the CAG advice and a proposal to this effect under section 19(3) was made in August 2022. But, they added, the file yet again came to the L-G’s secretariat from the chief minister without his signature, with an observation on the file by the joint secretary to the CM, saying “Hon’ble CM has seen and approved”.

The L-G’s office has alleged that the CM didn’t want to take responsibility for the lapses in accounting and violation of rules of CAG.

Saxena, who had recently sought a report on falling enrollments and rising absenteeism in Delhi government schools, has expressed grave concern over “unjustifiable and undue delays” of more than five years in audit of accounts of universities under Delhi government by CAG.

The L-G’s office says that in what appears to be gross subterfuge undertaken with the aim of somehow avoiding an audit of accounts by CAG, universities in Delhi have been for more than five years inexplicably playing ping-pong between departments merely on grounds as to which section of the University Act and CAG Act, 1971, will be applied for getting the audit done.

The lieutenant governor, who is also the chancellor of the state universities, has directed the Training & Technical Education/Higher Education Department to take immediate action to ensure the audit of accounts of all state universities in accordance with the statutes in place to CAG. He has also directed that in future, entrustment of audit accounts of all universities be done immediately on it becoming due, without any delay.

As chancellor, the L-G has also come across serious and continuous procedural lapses on part of the state universities in Delhi and has taken a very serious view of it, his office said. Be it non-audit of accounts in time, unanswered audit objections or not holding of the mandatory annual meetings of the ‘Court of Universities’: all point towards non-transparency, adhocism, and disregard of accountability, it added.

The L-G secretariat has also written to all vice chancellors to ensure that meetings of the Court of University are held at least twice a year. The letter has underlined that the University Courts are entrusted with the statutory responsibility of reviewing the broad policies and programmes of the universities and suggesting measures for their improvement and development.

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