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CAG seeks probe into training scam in Odisha

Of Rs 237.4 cr released to PIAs during 2014-19, Rs 59.83 cr needs to be recovered, it suggests

Published: 04th April 2021 03:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2021 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

Corruption

Representational Image. (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Detecting serious irregularities in execution of placement-linked skill development programme under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has recommended the State government for a thorough probe into placement claims by the project implementing agencies (PIAs).

“After checking of placement records and management information system reports, audit found that 14 per cent (pc) of training and 77 pc of placements as claimed by Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) seem to be false and fabricated,” said the CAG report on General and Social Sector for the year ending March 2019.

A registered society, ORMAS implementing the scheme in the State received Rs 657.9 crore during 2014-19 under DDUGKY and utilised Rs 568.43 crore (86 pc) as of March 2019. It claimed to have trained 1,31,854 youths and provided placement to 97,198 through 95 PIAs.

“Audit could not draw any assurance regarding the satisfactory achievement of training and placements as multiple suspected frauds have been found to be committed by the PIAs who manipulated the weaknesses in the system resulting in extension of undue financial benefits to private players,” the report said.

This is despite the fact that Odisha was awarded the best performing state under DDU-GKY by Ministry of Rural Development during 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“It was noticed that projects worth Rs 197.05 crore have been irregularly sanctioned to the test checked PIAs by ORMAS violating the due procedures envisaged in the scheme guidelines. Out of Rs 237.4 crore released to test checked PIAs during 2014-19, Rs 59.83 crore needs to be recovered along with penal interest,” the report said.

The Central agency further said instances of frauds like forging of bank statements, production of fake ESIC numbers and submission of forged salary slips indicated that the required internal checks, especially those related to verification of job placement were ineffective and inefficient. As a result, five PIAs were paid an excess amount of Rs 10.83 crore.

On cross check of the veracity of the placement data in respect of 1,286 candidates with the data available on the website of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, it was noticed that 705 candidates (55 pc) were already employed during the period of their training.

Thus, credibility of the reported placement figure was doubtful.

The PIA received Rs 22.69 crore as training and placement charges for these candidates, the report stated. 

“Investigate thoroughly all the placement documents submitted by all the PIAs to ensure genuineness of claims of the agencies regarding placements as well as training,” the CAG recommended. 



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