During 2012 and 2013, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh spent Rs 15.06 crore to distribute cheques worth Rs 20.58 crore. The startling revelation is part of a report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) which it tabled in the state assembly on Thursday. As per CAG’s “General and Social Sector” report, the former state government organised the event which cost Rs 20.58 crore to the state exchequer to distribute funds worth Rs 15.06 crore to distribute to beneficiaries of its flagship unemployment allowance scheme.

These events were organised despite the provision that the money that needed to be distributed should be deposited directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The former state government spent Rs 8.07 crore on seating, refreshment and other arrangements while it spent Rs 6.99 crore on transporting beneficiaries to the venues, the report said.

Quoting the expenditure as ‘avoidable’, the CAG report states that the state government had organised such events to distribute cheques under the ‘Berozgari Bhatta Yojna’ in 69 districts. The amount was distributed to about 1.26 lakh unemployed people. Akhilesh also was party to many events where he personally gave away these cheques.

The scheme was launched during 2003-2007 when Akhilesh’s father and Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister. The state government then gave away Rs 1,000 as an allowance to unemployed people who had passed high school and were in the age group of 30-40 years. The scheme was launched again when Akhilesh came to power in 2012.

Though the scheme did not ask for these cheques to be given away at any event where transportation and refreshment cost be included, many such events were organised making a dent in the exchequer.