Executing agencies, DDOs openly flouting Financial Code, creating crisis for Govt

Tenders being invited without approval, availability of funds
No taker of repeated instructions of Finance Deptt, CAG
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 29: Creating immense difficulties for the Government, executing agencies and Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) have been flouting Jammu and Kashmir Financial Code right under the nose of Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments while incurring expenditure out of the public exchequer.
The prevailing situation has invited sharp criticism from the Principal Secretary to Government Finance Department, who has once again laid stress on ensuring financial discipline in all the departments by issuing fresh instructions.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that detailed rules and regulations have been laid down in various books/codes regarding the formalities and procedures to be followed before incurring expenditure out of the public exchequer.
Rule 9.3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Financial Code stipulates that no work should be commenced or any liability incurred until administrative approval has been obtained from the competent authority; sanction either special or general of the competent authority has been obtained authorising expenditure; a proper detailed design and estimate has been sanctioned and funds to cover the charge during the year have been provided by the competent authority.
“Moreover, any work for which expenditure is to be incurred should figure in the approved works programme of the department for the year”, sources said, adding “Rule 9.3 of the Financial Code also lays down the timelines for various authorities within which administrative approval has to be accorded”.
It is pertinent to mention here that maximum time available for administrative approval is a month and the powers vested with various authorities for accord of administrative approval and technical sanction have clearly been defined in the Book of Financial Powers. Even detailed rules/regulations have been laid down in the Financial Code and Public Works Accounts Code regarding purchase of stores and execution of works.
“If in any case, whether on grounds of urgency or otherwise, an executive officer is required by superior authority to carry out work or incur a liability which involves an infringement of these fundamental rules, the orders of such authority should be conveyed in writing”, sources said quoting the Financial Code, adding “on receipt of such written orders or in case of emergency, on his own responsibility, the officer may proceed to carry out the necessary work subject to the condition that he immediately intimates to the Accountant General concerned that he is incurring an authorised liability and states approximately the amount of liability which is likely to incur”.
Despite exhaustive and clear rules for incurring expenditure out of the public exchequer, it has been observed by the Government that these are not being adhered to in letter and spirit by the executing agencies and Drawing and Disbursing Officers, the Principal Secretary to Government, Finance Department, Arun Kumar Mehta has mentioned in a communiqué to the Administrative Secretaries, Divisional Commissioners, Heads of the Departments, Directors Finance and Financial Advisors.
“Tenders are being invited without administrative approval and without specifying availability of funds which is unacceptable”, the communication said, adding “since adherence to the codal procedures is imperative to ensure propriety in spending, all the DDOs are once again impressed upon to ensure adherence to the laid down procedures before incurring expenditure”.
They have further been asked not to prefer any claim for payment at treasuries in absence of fulfilment of any of the codal formalities. “Adherence to the procedures shall ensure that payments on account of expenditure incurred are made in a time bound manner”, reads the communication.
The Finance Secretary has also asked the Treasury Officers not to entertain any claim for payment which doesn’t conform to all the parameters detailed in Rule 9.3 of the Financial Code.
“This is not for the first time that violation of Jammu and Kashmir Financial Code has come to the fore and the practice is prevailing since long”, sources said while stressing that instead of issuing circular instructions every year particularly at the end and beginning of the financial year the Government should take stern action against all those who are openly flouting the rules and creating financial problems for the State.
It is pertinent to mention here that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its every report makes revelation about blatant violation of Financial Code by majority of the departments with the recommendations for bringing an end to this practice. But the latest circular instructions of the Finance Secretary clearly establish that executing agencies and DDOs are still reluctant to mend their ways.