BANGALORE : The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has shocked government auditors by paying a contractor `6.84 crore just to transfer question papers online.
A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), a copy of which is available with Express, states: “The payment was to be made only for the specimen question papers transferred online... at the rate of `19.16 per question paper and not for the number of question papers issued to students.”
The exam cell in each college could well have made copies cheap, at just `0.35 a page, the report observes. The total excess paid was `6.84 crore from 2009 to 2012 for four sessions, and the excess payment per session was `1.55 crore, it says.
University officials pointed out that the agency was tasked with maintaining the network where VTU provides them a soft copy of the question paper, which the contractor hosts on the server. All affiliated colleges can log on to the server and take printouts. The total amount given to the agency does not include the cost of printing at the colleges or the number of printouts taken at the colleges, they explained.
In 2011-12, the VTU introduced a system to mail all question papers to colleges and exam centres. The college goes to the printer buffer, where the question paper is deposited, and gets a specific number of copies. The VTU has even supplied printers and toners to the engineering colleges.
Dr M S Shivakumar, principal, Atria Institute of Technology, said, “It is a good observation by the CAG. Why pay so much to the tenderer when colleges can take a single copy and photocopy it?” he said.
The CAG has pointed out that the exam system was conventional and colleges could have easily photocopied the specimen question paper. The CAG has also objected to the TA/DA paid to examiners and evaluators even after the evaluation was digitised.
Outsourcing the process had to result in savings, but regular expenditure was incurred on travel and dearness allowances for the June 2012 exams, the report says. “This indicates the contract had not served the purpose,” states the report.