ABHINANDAN MISHRA 20th Apr 2013
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), increased on its own the pay scale of its officials, thus overlooking the objections by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) and Audit authorities, who had turned down the request for the increase. In spite of being asked to stop this, the DRDO ignored the Finance Ministry order and continued to pay the hikes salary, thus causing an annual liability of Rs 9.6 crore.
According to a note dated 10 September 2012 and signed by an under secretary of the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, upgrading the grade pay of Technical Officers (A) from Rs 4,600 to Rs 4,800, was “irregular, contrary to the accepted recommendation of the Central Pay Commission and in violation of the allocation and transaction of business rules and was undertaken suo moto without reference, much less concurrence, of the Ministry of Finance”. An audit conducted by the defence audit branch (DGADS) for 2011-2012 passed strictures against the DRDO authorities for this action. The audit report said that DRDO officials, during the audit, agreed to recover the amount that was paid to its employees.
“The grant of Grade pay Rs 4,800 did not have the approval of the Ministry of Finance. Department of Expenditure had treated it as ‘irregular’ and asked to withdraw it. During discussion, at the insistence of audit, the DRDO authorities agreed to recover the overpaid amount of Rs 24 cr,” remarked DGADS. Some DRDO officers said that scientists who do not have the required expertise have been entrusted with managing the administration of DRDO.