The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pulled up a public sector undertaking in Goa over the distribution of gold medallions among its employees, terming it as a move that “violated principles of financial propriety”.
In a report tabled in the Goa legislative assembly on Friday, the CAG pointed out that the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) had incurred a loss of nearly Rs 20 lakh in the financial year 2016-17 by taking such a step.
The GIDC managing director had approved an expenditure of Rs 20.75 lakh for awarding the mementos – gold medallions weighing two grams and costing Rs 7,035 each – to both regular and contractual staffers on the occasion of its golden jubilee in August 2016.
“As per the delegation of powers of GIDC, the MD has no power to authorise such a decision. The expenditure was approved by the managing director with the remark that the proposal may be placed before the board for its approval and ratification. However, the items were procured and distributed (and) the proposal was ratified ex-post facto,” the CAG noted, adding that distributing gold coins went against the “letter and spirit of financial propriety as envisaged for spending public monies”.
The GIDC, in its defence, claimed that the gold coins were handed out to “honour the sincere efforts of the staff” after the undertaking showed a net surplus of Rs 56.12 crore. The CAG countered the assertion by saying that the net surplus was not on account of “the GIDC’s operational efficiency, but due to an interest of Rs 131.38 crore earned from bank deposits”.
Data presented by the CAG showed that the accumulated surplus had, in fact, declined from Rs 56.12 crore to Rs 53.8 crore that year – recording a deficit of Rs 2.31 crore.
“Awarding gold coins on grounds of efficiency goes against the principles of financial propriety, and amounts to being a diversion of resources better employed for the development of infrastructure,” the agency said.