The Uttar Pradesh government today gave permission to Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and other central agencies to carry out audit of development authorities in the state, including the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA). There are 29 development authorities in the state and the decision taken at a meeting of the state cabinet assumes significance especially in the context of permission sought by CAG to carry out GDA audit. “The government has given its consent to CAG and other central agencies to audit development authorities,” Cabinet Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh said.
He was briefing mediapersons on the decisions taken at today’s cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the second since he took over the reins of the state last month. A five-member CAG team yesterday began a probe into the functioning of GDA.
According to officials, the CAG will conduct a performance audit of the development agency. Last week, a team of CAG officials was turned away from GDA when they arrived for an audit. There has been a tug-of-war between the Centre and the UP government for over a year about CAG’s prerogative to probe the affairs of GDA.
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GDA had maintained that it does not fall under the ambit of the CAG because it does not use resources out of the Consolidated Fund of India. The UP government had maintained that GDA generates its own resources and is a non-profit body. On February 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election rally in Ghaziabad had targeted GDA for alleged land scams and said he would ensure a CAG audit of all development authorities, including GDA, if BJP came to power in UP.
The UP government on April 7 sent a fresh government order to GDA and stated the provisions of a June 1985 government order that allowed for a CAG audit to be conducted.
The June 1985 order states that agencies/development authorities getting grant/loan of Rs 1 crore or above in a financial year from the Consolidated Fund of State will have to get their accounts audited by CAG. Officials said the provision implies that majority of GDA projects such as elevated road, metro, flyovers, underpasses and road projects will fall under the ambit of CAG audit as most of the projects undertaken by the authority cost well over the limit of Rs 1 crore.
Apart from carrying out checks on procedures, utilisation of funds and progress of projects, CAG may audit the terms of contracts, agencies and contractors to whom the projects have been awarded.