Audit of Namami Gange

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India submitted a performance audit report on ‘Rejuvenation of river Ganga (Namami Gange)’ on December 19, 2017.  Namami Gange, or the Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission was approved in May 2015 as an umbrella programme to integrate previous and ongoing initiatives for the conservation of river Ganga.  The CAG undertook this audit to assess the availability and utilisation of funds, planning and implementation of various schemes/projects, adequacy of human resources, and effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.  Key findings and recommendations of the CAG audit include:
     
  • Financial management: Only eight to 63% of the funds were utilised during 2014-15 to 2016-17, in comparison to the revised estimates.  During the same period, funds amounting to Rs 2,134 crore were lying unutilised with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).  Delays were also observed in submission of Utilisation Certificates (UCs) in respect of all State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). 
     
  • The CAG recommended that NMCG may prepare Annual Action Plan, align budget estimates based on Annual Action Plan, and take appropriate action to regularly review actual expenditure in comparison to budget allocation. NMCG may also ensure preparation and timely submission of UCs/ consolidated financial statements by SPMGs, for regular monitoring of the expenditure.
     
  • Project planning: NMCG does not have a river basin management plan even after more than eight years of the National Ganga River Basin Authority notification.  Out of 154 Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) pertaining to the period from 2014-15 to 2016-17, only 71 DPRs were approved. 
     
  • The CAG recommended that NMCG may finalise Ganga River Basin Management Plan for implementation of long-term intervention on Ganga rejuvenation on a priority basis and implement it in a time bound manner. NMCG may also ensure that DPRs are approved in a time bound manner.
     
  • Pollution abatement: NMCG is yet to finalise and approve DPRs for Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) totalling 1,397 Million Litres per Day (MLD) capacity as of August 2017.  The target date for approving these DPRs was September 2016.  Out of 46 STPs and interception and diversion projects costing Rs 5,111 crore, there were delays in 26 projects costing Rs 2,710 crore.  This was caused due to: (i) delay in execution of projects, (ii) non-availability of land, and (iii) slow progress of work by contractors. 
     
  • The CAG recommended that NMCG may address the capacity gaps of sewerages pertaining to all towns and villages comprehensively. It may also plan sewage systems, STPs, and interception and diversion works in a time bound manner.  NMCG and SPMGs in consultation with state government authorities and executing agencies may make agreements to ensure availability of land before contracts are awarded.
     
  • Rural sanitation: Total funds of Rs 951 crore have been released to five states by NMCG for activities relating to construction of individual household latrines, information and education drives, and solid liquid waste management.  However, the five states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have utilised only half the funds.  CAG recommended that NMCG, in consultation with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation may ensure optimum utilisation of available funds, more realistic planning, data integrity, and monitoring for achieving targets.
     
  • Shortage of human resource: Overall shortage of manpower, ranging from 44% to 65% during 2014-15 to 2016-17 in NMCG was observed.  In SPMGs, the overall shortage ranged between 20% to 89%.  CAG recommended that NMCG may frame recruitment rules for filling-up vacancies and increase the sanctioned strength for effective implementation of projects at both the NMCG and SPMG levels.
     
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Against 5,016 compliance verifications required to be conducted by CPCB in respect of 988 grossly polluting industries, only 3,163 (63%) compliance verifications were conducted during 2011-17.  CAG recommended that efforts should be made to expedite work assigned to CPCB on monitoring of pollution.

 

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