District level disaster fund accounts


Audit and inspections have not been finding much favour in Jammu and Kashmir with the concerned authorities though now some changes do appear in the perception and the approach but continues to be far from perceptible. It is to be said to be believed that district level disaster accounts of the Department of Disaster Management & Relief and Rehabilitation have never been audited so far in Jammu and Kashmir, perhaps, under the notion that proper utilization and end use thereof are impeccably beyond any doubt. Even if that be taken on the face value, the rules of accounting warrant the same to be duly verified and certified. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had even in 2016 given directions that these accounts should be duly audited but as on date, the position more or less, continues to be the same. Transparency, agreeably, may not be doubted but it cannot equally be taken for granted as well, for which a mechanism of periodic audits must be ensured to be adopted and, perhaps, enforced without fail as it is the question of public funds. It is incumbent that pre-release scrutiny of funds should be done meticulously as post release of funds should, as the overall objective is guarding and securing public funds as the General Finance Rules enshrine. It is in particular in respect of such accounts which on account of their very nature, are susceptible to frequent transactions and turnover that proper and regular audits should be conducted. Not only conducted which is a half way exercise but the audit reports need to be attended to on priority and that too, within a fixed timeframe since what is observed is that audit reports are treated just casually and even optional in respect of rectifying the pointed out irregularities and submitting clarification/ reply on other points. It is observed in maximum instances in Governmental departments, offices and PSUs that there was no set mechanism to follow-up, monitor and keep close track of the replies submitted by the concerned audited institutions and that within by the scheduled time. In other words, what is the fun of conducting audits if what auditing apparatus found and observed in contravention of rules and procedures were not explained and replied to as also duly confirmed having been rectified. Another unwarranted and uncalled for deviation is observed taking place in many a department from the principles of accounting in that, accounts and related books are not updated and tallied on day to day basis and that ”non-accounting habit” is the bane of most of the accounting manipulations leading to frauds and embezzlements. We would like to point out as to whether the audit and inspection wing of the UT Finance Department keeps up dated its list of departments audited, audit reports duly replied, due date of next audit of the departments and the list of departments which have not submitted duly signed ”Rectification Certificates” as a confirmation of the undertaking that all was well post audit activities in a particular department. If there is not enough manpower with the Finance Department, why not to outsource the auditing by reputed professional firms and agencies to set in place, and that too firmly, a semblance, an order, a discipline and a proper system of adherence to Financial Code Books and procedures. Once this message goes straight to the concerned authorities, not only shall a sea change be observed but most of irregularities, frauds and scams shall get thwarted, rather nipped in the bud and too much of attention, resources, time, costs and energies shall be saved which have got to be expended in dealing with the aftermaths of frauds and the resultant losses to the public exchequer. Therefore, we feel that the Directorate of General Audit and Inspection shall have to be more watchful, alert and have eagle eyed surveillance over financial issues and their proper management in the UT departments and probably not act only when some type of ”mess”, frauds and the like took place or when complaints on that count were received.