The C Times, 6th June 2017, Agartala: This is in reference to the sudden termination of 700 school computer teachers who worked under ICT@School Project during the period 2008-13 and 2010-15.
The report of the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India on Social, Economic, Revenue and General sectors of Tripura for the year 2012-13 reflects the state govt’s involvement in massive corruption in the ICT@School project.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Schools was launched in December 2004 and revised in 2010 to provide opportunities to secondary stage students to mainly build their capacity on ICT skills and make them learn through the computer-aided learning process. The Scheme provides support to States/UTs to establish computer labs on the sustainable basis.
Glaring discrepancies in implementation of the project have been exposed in the report that has been submitted to the Governor under article 151 of the constitution of India.
During a study on the implementation of the scheme that was conducted (July/August 2012 and June/August 2013) by examining the records in the office of the Director, SCERT and physical verification/survey in fifty schools in two districts selected by simple random method, it has been found that there had been inordinate delay in implementation of the scheme. It was further noticed that the govt. had not started (August 2013) implementation of the scheme in 282 schools approved in November 2010 for the period 2010-15 though the GOI released the first instalment of Central share of 4.96 crores to the state govt. as early as March 2011.
As per the financing pattern under the scheme, the project cost (` 6.70 lakh per school) and the recurring cost (` 1.34 lakh per school per annum) was to be shared on 90:10 basis between the GOI and the State Government. The project cost of` 24.12 crores was to be released by the GOI in instalments – ` 8.12 crore @ ` 2.03 lakh per school during 2007-08 and ` 4 crores every year for four years during 2008-12 @ ` 1 lakh per school. GOI released ` 22.23 crore as project cost and` 5.01 crore as recurring cost till March 2013.
Audit observed the following deficiencies in the financial management of the scheme:
The Department failed to implement the schemes in time (150 schools in December 2007, 200 school in September –December 2009 and 50 schools in May-August 2012 against the target of 400 schools by March 2012). Therefore, the GOI did not release its share of project cost during the years 2008-09 and 2009-10 (`8 crores) which was partly (` 4.50 crore) released in 2010-11 and balance (` 3.50 crore) in 2011-12. As per the scheme guidelines, the GOI fund commitment was up to the year 2011-12 only, whereas due to delay on the part of the Department, the funding had got delayed beyond the commitment period and ` 1.89 crore was still due from the GOI on account of the project cost.
As per the scheme guidelines, the GOI fund commitment was up to the year 2011-12 only, whereas due to delay on the part of the Department, the funding had got delayed beyond the commitment period and ` 1.89 crore was still due from the GOI on account of the project cost.
The Department claimed the recurring grant of ` 7.84 crores from GoI for the period 2008-09 to 2010-11 only in August 2011 of which ` 3.63 crores was accepted by GOI. No reasons for short acceptance of the claim by the GOI were found on records. The Department also did not pursue the matter with the GOI thereby depriving the State of a substantial amount of ` 4.21 crore under the scheme. On this being pointed out by the audit, the Department admitted (August 2013) the delay in submitting claims for recurring grant stating that initially, the SCERT was not aware of recurring grant. They further agreed that communication would be made with the MHRD for the balance amount of ` 4.21 crore.
GOI had provided/committed financial assistance of ` 53.60 crore under the scheme for 400 schools at the rate of ` 13.40 lakh per school on account of capital and recurring expenditure for five years whereas the Department placed the work orders with private agencies at ` 8.50 lakh per school for 150 schools and ` 8.04 lakh for 250 schools resulting into likely savings of ` 20.75 crore5.
GOI assistance =` 53.60 crore
Less actual/committed expenditure
- i) 150×` 8.50 lakh =` 75 crore
- ii) 250×` 8.04 lakh =` 10 crore =` 32.85 crore
Savings =` 20.75 crore
The report clearly shows the left govt’s apathy for the technological and socio-economic development of the state. Thus the govt’s impassiveness for the future of 700 school teachers and the ICT@School project is truly revealed.
Stay tuned for further follow ups on this Scam issue…………