The top government auditor also expressed concern that even though Rs 7,885 crore was collected through the research and development cess during FY97 to FY17, only Rs 609 crore (7.73%) was utilised towards the objectives of levying the said cess.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the government for not even identifying the beneficiary schemes even as it collected Rs 83,497 crore by way of secondary and higher education cess between FY07 and FY17. The cess on taxes was introduced in the Finance Act, 2007 to fulfil the commitment of secondary and higher education. Accruals from the cess were supposed to be utilised in the ongoing schemes for secondary and higher education. “Consequently, the commitment of furthering secondary and higher education cess as envisaged in the Finance Act was not transparently ascertainable,” CAG told Parliament on Tuesday.
The matter of non-creation of a reserve fund in public account and non-identification of schemes was raised in the previous years’ report but the trend is persistent, it added. The top government auditor also expressed concern that even though Rs 7,885 crore was collected through the research and development cess during FY97 to FY17, only Rs 609 crore (7.73%) was utilised towards the objectives of levying the said cess.
It also pointed out in its report that 14 regulatory bodies and autonomous bodies including the Securities and Exchange Board of India have retained funds generated through fee charges, unspent grants, interests, receipt of license fees, corpus fund, etc aggregating to Rs 6,064 crore at the end of March 2017, outside the government account. It sought corrective action in this regard. In its report titled Union Government Accounts for 2016-17, the statutory regulator said the Centre’s fiscal deficit and revenue deficit stood at 3.54% and 2.09% of GDP in FY17, against the Controller General of Accounts’ estimate of 3.51% and 2.02%, respectively.