Illegal transactions

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/1/2019 11:19:48 AM IST

College students in Nagaland under the All Nagaland College Students’ Union(ANCSU) have been confronting the issue of misuse of scholarship involving around Rs.2 crore which was allegedly misused under the Directorate of Technical Education(TE). It was disclosed, that students were deprived of the scholarship fund owing to the misuse. Matters came to a head when the students issued a five-day ultimatum on the current Director of TE, demanding his immediate resignation on account of the misuse of the money. As per the clarification made by the Director to the students (ANCSU), the amount that was misused in the form of ‘loan’ involved Rs.1.32 crore as scholarship fund. However, ANCSU maintained that as per another letter from the OSD and DDO of the department written to the Senior Treasury Officer, an amount of Rs.2.12 crore was kept as savings from the 2013-14 scholarship with a bank branch in Kohima. However, the students wanted to know if there was any provision under the department where scholarship money could be given on loan to officials and so submitted a query under RTI. It was disclosed that the department had admitted that there was no such record of departmental cash or scholarship fund being permitted to be given on loan to officials. In view of the RTI reply received from the department, the ANCSU president was clear then, that the entire issue over scholarship money being used to give ‘loan’ to officials was illegal and certainly an offence. Even if the loans were returned or repaid, it still does not absolve the department since no officer has any legal authority to give loans out of departmental cash. Perhaps this irregular loan only raises suspicions that this has been the practise in many other departments. In addition, there are some departments that allegedly keep government money under Savings Account instead of Current Account. There have been several allegations in this regard in the past. What the scholarship loan scam also reveals is that often students are short-changed in getting their dues under various pretexts. All these are clear indications that the level of integrity among many government servants holding charge of DDOs is questionable. In the present case involving the Technical Education department, since the students have been demanding justice, it was incumbent upon the government to immediately respond by ascertaining facts and if anyone was found guilty, then appropriate disciplinary action should have been taken in order to avoid the unnecessary unwanted situation. Perhaps, the department owes it to the people to highlight this loan scam in order to regain trust. Furthermore, as a consequence of the scholarship loan scam, the government has to deal with such potential misuse by providing factual information about arrival of scholarship, the amount and the date on which they will be released. Scholarship cannot be deemed to be a ‘hush-hush affair’ since it involves thousands of students. The scam as it may be, is a reflection of the symptomatic problem in the government system. Even in those departments dealing with subsidies or rural schemes, much had been in the form of complaints and allegations of corrupt practise. It is time that those in authorities realise that such practises end and a greater degree of transparency and accountability is imposed if any meaningful change is to be effected.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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