Prisoner Welfare fund being used for conveyance to NGOs: CAG
Dismayed over mismanagement in the functioning of jails, CAG has observed that Prisoner Welfare Fund (PWF) meant for collective welfare activities for prisoners was spent on conveyance to NGOs, advances to jail staff, salary to data entry operators among others.
As per the rule, PWF is meant for providing aid to prisoners for various items of collective welfare activities in jails during their <g data-gr-id="34">imprisonment,such</g> as education, recreation, vocation among others. and to the deserving prisoners as money grants or for equipment for trade at the time of their release.
However, scrutiny of records revealed that PWF was illegally spent on making payments to NGOs, jail staffs and for conducting Yoga etc for the inmates.
“It was observed that Rs 3 lakh was paid for the construction work of fountain at gate number 1 of Prison Headquarter in 2013. An amount of Rs 22.17 lakh was paid for <g data-gr-id="37">renovation</g> of various bathrooms of Prison headquarters and kitchen work. Also, a Tata Star bus costing Rs 14.42 Lakh was purchased through PWF,” CAG report reads.
The audit also observed that the Prison department had modified the source of raising PWF by including “profit from canteen” and changed the definition of competent authority from “administrator” to the “Executive Committee”, without the approval of the administrator. The PWF is administered by the Executive Committee consisting of jail staffs and inmates under the chairmanship of the superintendent. It was supposed to meet once in every month, but it was noticed that during 2009-14, no meeting of the committee was held and matters were decided at the level of superintendent and DG, Prisons.
It was <g data-gr-id="29">learnt</g> that DG, Prison has already issued an order on March 2015 to all the jail superintendents to use the fund strictly for defined objectives. He also asked to take necessary steps in separating canteen activities from PWF.
It was also found that some jails were operating canteens without any approval. “Jails have been running two types of canteens including wet and dry. Audit observed that there was neither any provision in the Delhi Jail Manual nor approval from home or finance department for running these canteens. It was found that annual turnover of every canteen running in Tihar Jail complex and Rohini Jail was more than Rs 20 lakh, but none of these were registered with the trade and taxes department,” CAG report reads. The phone jammers were also found to be defunct in some jails despite spending Rs 5.81 crore on its installation.