Irregular Payment of ad-hoc Bonus in Central Autonomous Bodies: Observations/Recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee a Parliamentary Committee
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee, Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, MP presented today i.e. 05th April, 2023, the 62nd Report of the Committee (17th Lok Sabha) on “Irregular Payment of ad-hoc Bonus”.
Some of the important Observations/Recommendations of the Committee contained in this Report are as under:
|Need for devising a mechanism for close monitoring of the flow of expenditure emphasized.||The Committee have noted that the 13 Central Autonomous Bodies under the Department of Higher Education, Department of School Education and Ministry of Culture paid ad hoc bonus to their employees, amounting to ₹ 15.87 crore, during the years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. These Central Autonomous Bodies under the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture had neither sought the approval from their respective administrative Ministries/Departments nor sought any clarification from the Department of Expenditure before releasing the ad hoc bonus to their employees. The Committee, have, therefore, desired that accountability of the Officers concerned with this lapse may be fixed so as to avoid recurrence of such matters in future. The Committee have also desired the Ministry of Education should devise a mechanism for close monitoring of the flow of expenditure so that such lapses are timely identified at the level of budget sanctioning/controlling authorities. Besides, budget controlling authorities also should be more vigilant before sanctioning any amount, failing which, they may be held accountable for such act of omission.
[Recommendation Para No. 2]
|Need for recovering the ad-hoc bonus dispersed by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata to their employees recommended.||The Committee have noted with concern that The Asiatic Society, Kolkata which is an Autonomous Body fully funded by the Ministry of Culture not only have justified the irregular payment of ad hoc bonus to their employees from 2015-16 to 2017-18 but also continued payment of the irregular bonus for two subsequent years also i.e., for the period from 2018-19 and 2019-20. While expressing grave concern over the laxity shown by the Ministry in monitoring such irregular payment of ad-hoc bonus by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata to its employees, the Committee have recommended that the Ministry of Culture should make all out efforts to settle this issue with the Asiatic Society, Kolkata and make them understand that paying of ad-hoc bonus by them to their employees is irregular and they should make every possible effort to recover the ad-hoc bonus dispersed at the earliest.
The Committee have further been constrained to observe that the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) advised the ASK that the Society shall not make any further payment of ad-hoc bonus unless any specific orders are issued by the Ministry of Finance and ASK shall take immediate steps in recovering the amount of ₹ 38.15 lakh paid to the employees towards ad-hoc bonus for the years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.
[Recommendation Para No. 3]
|Need for finding a justifiable alternative for payment of ad hoc bonus from their own resources to their eligible employees recommeded.||The Committee have observed that Indian Institute of Management-Kashipur and National Institute of Open Schooling had initially justified that they had followed the Central Government Rules and they were not partly nor fully funded by the Central Government, hence, the payment of ad hoc bonus to their eligible employees was in order. Indian Institute of Management-Guwahati had countered that the bonus paid to its employees for the years 2015-16 and 2016-17 would be adjusted against its own development fund. Similarly, Indian Institute of Management-Kharagpur had earlier replied to the Audit that for the year 2017-18, the ad hoc bonus had been disbursed out of its own resources. The Committee, have therefore, recommended that the Central Autonomous Bodies along with the Ministries of Education and Culture should consult with the Ministry of Finance to find a justifiable alternative/solution regarding payment of ad hoc bonus from their own resources/fund to their eligible employees at par with the Central Government employees.
[Recommendation Para No. 4]
|Need for strengthening Budget monitoring mechanism recommended.||The Committee have found that Asiatic Society, Kolkata has paid ad-hoc bonus totalling ₹ 38.15 lakh for a period of three years i.e. 2015-16 to 2017-18. However, representative of Ministry of Culture had informed the Committee that the ASK were making the payment till 2021-22 without bothering about the issue being pointed out by Audit in November 2020.
The Committee, have, therefore, recommended that henceforth, budget monitoring, internal financial control mechanism in Ministry of Culture as well as in ASK be strengthened and effective steps taken for stricter monitoring in control over irregular expenditure in future. The Committee have also emphazised the Ministry of Culture to stop the grant of their Autonomous Bodies, in case any irregular expenditure is incurred by them recurringly without taking permission from the Ministry in future.
[Recommendation Para No. 7]
|Lackadaisical approach of ASK in resolving issues towards irregular payment of bonus.||
The Committee have been astonished to note that no recovery has been made as yet by the ASK despite being pursued the case by Ministry of Culture with them from time-to-time through letters/emails dated 25/11/2020, 24/02/2021, 26/03/2021, 08/07/2021 and 20/12/2021. While deprecating the lackadaisical approach of the ASK towards resolving this issue, the Committee have recommended the Asiatic Society, Kolkata to recover the irregular payment of bonus from its employees without any further loss of time, failing which, the accountability of the General Secretary of the ASK, who approved all payments/expenditures of the society be fixed and suitable action taken in the matter.
[Recommendation Para No. 8]
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