The government has been forced on the defensive by the CAG's observation that its farm loan waiver scheme had several loopholes.
The top auditor pointed out that over 13 per cent of the farmers who would have benefited from the waiver were surprisingly not considered for inclusion under the Rs 52,000 crore scheme.
Irregularities have been found in more than 22 per cent of the cases, the CAG noted in its final report. Moreover, the government failed to take an acknowledgment from nearly 34 per cent of the beneficiaries. Due to this lapse, these farmers can apply for a fresh loan but the authorities would be none the wiser.
The auditor said that incorrect benefits were provided in around 4800 cases. Especially shocking is the CAG's revelation that loans amounting to Rs 164 crore were illegally waived off.
Moreover, loans worth Rs 20 crore were given to farmers who should have been marked out as ineligible to benefit from the scheme or given away for purposes not exactly related to agriculture.
The tabling of the report in the Parliament on Tuesday could well give one more opportunity to the opposition to attack the government. Ever since the scheme was announced in 2008, loans taken by over 3.7 crore beneficiaries have been waived off.