CAG to submit audit report against 25 private schools

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The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to submit its audit report on 25 elite private schools that had complained of facing a financial burden because of having to pay teachers higher salaries recommended by the 6th Pay Commission. Justcice A.K. Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul said, “CAG will have to submit its audit report by March 18. The Delhi government grievance department should also give us the details of complaint they have received from parents regarding fee hike issue in a year or two.” The court order came while hearing a petition filed by social jurist lawyer Ashok Agarwalla. Agarwalla said, “In clear violation of School Education Act, many of these schools did not offer 20 percent reservation to children from Economically Weaker Sections.” Challenging the schools claim, Agarwalla said Delhi's private schools that had complained they were reeling under the burden of having to pay teachers higher salaries are totally wrong. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), however, said they used the Pay Commission as an alibi to fatten themselves. The auditor held that 25 elite private schools passed on the burden of implementing the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission to parents, without drawing on the cash reserves they had accumulated by not implementing the staff salaries prescribed by the government. The money collected from parents on the ground of the Pay Commission's burden was transferred to their societies and trusts. Schools which claimed to be making losses didn't hesitate to acquire expensive cars, the report said. The indictment gets more serious as CAG found that schools paid salaries to fictitious employees and collected money under various heads in an unauthorized way. The CAG report, finalized last month, also found that while some contributed to the provident fund of fewer employees (National Victor School), others such as Amity International made contribution for more employees than those actually working. Sixth Pay Commission arrears were paid to staff not enrolled as employees. CAG has also severely criticized the Directorate of Education of Delhi government for failing to monitor these lapses. CAG had audited the accounts of 25 schools — Mount Carmel, ASN School, Sachdeva, Mother Divine, Sadhu Vaswani, Ryan International, St Mary, Birla Vidya Niketan, Air Force Bal Bharti, GD Salwan, National Victor, Amity International, DPS-RK Puram, GD Goenka, Maharaja Agrasen, Convent of Jesus and Mary, JD Tytler, Sardar Patel, Vasant Valley, Ramjas Public School, St Xavier's, Frank Anthony, Presentation Convent, Modern School and Summer Fields School. As for illegal transfer of money, CAG pointed out nine cases. Sardar Patel paid Rs.2.33 crore as usage charge to Gujarat Education Society for using its assets, Birla Vidya Niketan (BVN) paid Rs.5.23 crore as rent to Birla Academy of Art and Culture and Rs 2.5 crore on repair and maintenance.

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