Financial discipline in most of Corpns, statutory bodies remains distant dream

Several bodies yet to constitute Board of Directors
*No compliance to repeated directives since July 2019

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Jan 20: Even after repeated and explicit directives from the Government no seriousness is being shown to ensure financial discipline in most of the companies, statutory bodies, societies and Corporations of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, several such bodies have yet not constituted Board of Directors despite being aware of the fact that all important decisions are taken at this platform.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that there are several Public Sector Undertakings, companies, statutory bodies and societies, which have not finalized their accounts during the past several years despite continuously getting huge financial assistance in the form of equity, loans and grants from the Government.
“The slackness in this regard is notwithstanding the fact that in the absence of settled accounts and their audit it is difficult rather impossible to ascertain whether the investments and expenditure incurred have been properly accounted for and whether the purpose for which the amount was invested had been achieved or not”, sources said.
They further said, “the inaction on the part of the concerned Managing Directors and Directors amounts to gross financial indiscipline especially in the light of the fact that directives for strict adherence to Financial Rules were issued by the Finance Department a number of times”.
The thrust on this aspect was laid by the Finance Department through official communiqués to the concerned Administrative Secretaries a number of times and even from the platform of Committee of Secretaries.
In the Committee of Secretaries meeting held on July 8, 2019, the Financial Commissioner Finance Department had observed that in State Public Sector Undertakings the meetings are not held on time and accounts of previous years are not being settled leading to lack of financial discipline in these PSUs.
“The process of finalization of previous years’ accounts and maintaining financial discipline require personal attention of the Administrative Secretaries as such they should take the required steps in this regard”, the Financial Commissioner had stated in the Committee of Secretaries meeting on July 8, 2019.
Taking serious note of the issue raised by the Financial Commissioner Finance, the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam had directed the concerned Administrative Secretaries to robustly pursue the issue with the respective Managing Directors and Directors of these PSUs for positive outcome in shortest possible time.
However, despite lapse of several months no seriousness has been shown by several Corporations and other statutory bodies in this regard and this can be gauged from the fact that in the recent Committee of Secretaries meeting the Financial Commissioner again raised the issue.
He again asked the Administrative Secretaries to convene Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for updation of accounts and compilation of assets and liabilities of companies, statutory bodies, societies and Corporations under their departments, sources said, adding “the Financial Commissioner Finance has further emphasized upon constitution of Board of Directors of companies, societies, statutory bodies and Corporations as have not yet constituted the same”.
“The non-serious approach towards constitution of Board of Directors is notwithstanding the fact that important decisions about these bodies are taken at this platform”, sources said, adding “as several bodies have yet not acted upon the repeated directives issued since July 2019 the Government should take stringent action against the defaulting bodies and even should consider stopping extending financial assistance to them”.
What to talk of Finance Department even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has reprimanded the heads of these Public Sector Undertakings in its numerous reports, sources said, adding “the supreme audit institution of the country is repeatedly laying thrust on finalization of accounts of PSUs pending for the past several years”.
Even Accountant General J&K has sent a number of communiqués to the Government especially Finance Department seeking to know the steps taken for implementation of the recommendations of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
It is pertinent to mention here that in order to avoid unnecessary financial burden on these bodies the Government has already made it clear that no new posts shall be created by the Public Sector Undertakings/autonomous bodies/societies without the prior concurrence of Finance Department. Moreover, no recruitment against vacant posts shall be made by Public Sector Undertakings/ autonomous bodies/societies without the prior concurrence of the Finance Department.