The issue of short-transfer and under-utilisation of cess collected in the Consolidated Fund of India for their dedicated accounts has been a recurring problem for many years.
Over Rs 2.18 lakh crore collected by the central government as cess for specific purposes such as education, sanitation and infrastructure have either not been fully transferred to dedicated funds or remain unutilised, according to a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report.
The cess, an additional tax levied by the government, is collected by the central government under the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). The collected fund is then transferred to the respective funds under different ministries, who utilise the funds for the specified purposes.
In FY18, the government collected Rs 2,14,050 crore under 42 cess categories.
The issue of short-transfer and under-utilisation of cess collected in the CFI for their dedicated accounts has been a recurring problem for many years, CAG said.
|Cess||Fund||Short-Transfer (upto March 2018)|
|Swachh Bharat Cess||Rashtriya Swachhata Kosh (RSK)||Rs 4,891 cr|
|Primary Education Cess||Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh||Rs 1,977 cr|
|Road Cess||Central Road Fund||Rs 72,726 cr|
|Clean Energy Cess||National Clean Energy Fund||Rs 44,505 cr|
|Secondary and Higher Education Cess||Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh||Rs 94,000 cr|
|Total||Rs 2,18,099 cr|
In the case of Secondary and Higher Education Cess, Rs 94,036 crore collected since FY07 has been retained in the CFI instead of being transferred to Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh. The fund, created in August 2017, has not been operationalised so far.
"Comments on short transfer of funds with respect to road cess and clean energy cess have been repeatedly pointed out since 2010-11. However, accounting authorities have taken no action in this regard," the CAG report said.
In some cases, the ministries under-utilised the funds. The Technology Development Board (TDB) has utilised just 9.6 percent (Rs 779 crore) of the funds collected under the Research and Development (R&D) Cess since FY97. The rest of the fund, Rs 7,298 crore remain unutilised.After the rollout of goods and service tax (GST) on July 1, 2017, a number of cess such as Krishi Kalyan Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess, Clean Energy Cess and Cess on Tea, Sugar and Jute were subsumed under the new tax regime. However, six cess continue to be levied. These are Primary Education Cess, Secondary Education Cess, Education Cess on Imported Goods, Cess on Crude Petroleum Oil, Road Cess, NCCD on Tobacco and Tobacco Products and Crude Petroleum Oil.