Ensure financial discipline

At the outset, it seems preposterous if not ridiculous that therae should be any need to lay stress on the mandatory requirement of following requisite rules, regulations and set procedures in conducting financial matters and affairs not to speak of transactions in Government offices, statutory bodies , corporations, companies, financial institutions, Government aided institutions and the like. ‘Excelsior’ had a couple of weeks back highlighted as to how some corporations and PSUs in Jammu and Kashmir had been found wanting in even ‘closing’ their books at the close of the financial years and not coming out with financial statements like income expenditure, profit and loss, depreciation of assets, Balance Sheet etc. It is again hard to believe that even monthly Bank Reconciliation Account statements are reportedly not being regularly prepared which in fact has to be done on weekly basis. It was found that such financial goofs were committed not for one or two years but for couple of years continuously and withimpunity.
Shouldn’t, therefore, this all unusual approach towards financial matters right from adopting and following usual accounting standards to following Books of Manual and financial code as also instructions from Finance Department and General Administration Department be properly monitored and streamlined? It is amusing to note that several such bodies under the Jammu and Kashmir Government directly or receiving funds, aids and equity etc from it, are running without duly constituted Board of Directors to facilitate proper decision taking mechanism and authority which would also be monitoring body recognised by law in matters of financial issues of all hues. What prevents defaulting PSUs, Corporations and other bodies from constituting such Boards and controlling authorities, needs not only to be followed by issuing customary circulars and office memos but more than that exercise which we may term just as casual.
Can there be any instance anywhere in the country where despite availability of sufficient talent in administrative, financial and company affairs, majority of such bodies are not closing their books annually and thus not sharing with the Government as also with the public, their annual financial results and that too for years together? How could credibility be given to any financial figures presented by such defaulting Bodies which besides being suspected of simple window dressing, would be just on estimation or provisional basis? The most important question is as to how it could be ascertained as to whether or not any misuse of funds, diversion of funds, financial fraud, scam or embezzlement had taken place in the absence of regular mandatory annual closing of Books of Accounts? And what is the status of annual compulsory audit of books and financial transactions, is usually risibly thought as optional and unimportant.
It is not that the Government does not appear to be concerned about it as Financial Commissioner in July last year in Committee of Secretaries had pointed out that most of the PSUs and other Statutory Bodies etc had not “settled” accounts of previous years and not observed financial discipline and had solicited personal attention of Administrative Secretaries to set things right but we are given to understand that there is no change in the situation.
The situation has assumed such proportions that the instructions and reminders of the Accountant General too are not being attended to in at least addressing the issues raised by the Auditor and Comptroller General of India. What is the problem excepting not putting in some extra amount of work of an hour or so or work wholeheartedly for the entire day for a few days in a month to square off entries, balance books and tally accounts which would streamline the entire process of updating financial results and statements which are in arrears for many years. Absence of dedicated and hard work coupled with weak supervision and poor monitoring from the administration has and is resulting in sprouting ofthe present scenario. Lieutenant Governor should look into the entire gamut of things regarding financial indiscipline of different hues in the defaulting PSUs and other such bodies and order for immediate but effective measures, even harsh ones, to stem the rut.