Flow of funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes relatively low for J&K UT

Maintain close liaison with Union Ministries: CS to Admn Secys

*Deptts asked to ensure strict adherence to new guidelines

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, July 3: As flow of funds under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes is relatively low for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government has directed all the Administrative Secretaries to pursue the matter aggressively with the concerned Union Ministries for accessibility to the financial assistance.
Moreover, all the departments have been explicitly told to ensure implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes strictly as per the new guidelines issued by the concerned Union Ministries as well as Department of Expenditure of Union Finance Ministry.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in a high-level meeting convened by the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta recently, all the issues pertaining to the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes came up for discussion and it was observed that the flow of funds under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes is relatively low for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Accordingly, the Chief Secretary has asked all the departments to pursue aggressively for accessibility to funds and escalate such issues where the departments are facing any difficulty, sources said, adding “all the departments have also been directed to ensure the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes as per the new guidelines”.
“In the month of March this year, the Union Government enforced new rules thereby changing the operating procedure for Centrally Sponsored Schemes”, sources said, adding “the new guidelines tighten the procedure for grant allocation and increase the scrutiny on utilisation of funds disbursed”.
From current month, all the States and Union Territories are required to set up a Single Nodal Agency for each Centrally Sponsored Scheme and have to open single account, sources further said, adding all Union Ministries and departments will release the Central share for each CSS to the Government’s account held in the RBI for further release to this Single Nodal Agency account. Then, the State/UT Governments will transfer the Central share within 21 days and release its own share within 40 days of the release of the Centre’s share.
“The Chief Secretary has explicitly told all the Administrative Secretaries to ensure implementation of new guidelines of having a single account forthwith”, sources said, adding “Dr Mehta has further advised all the Secretaries to maintain close liaison with their concerned Secretaries in Government of India so that issues of their departments are promptly addressed in the Central Government”.
They have also been advised to have frequent meetings with the Secretaries and concerned officers of the Union Ministries in this regard.
Disclosing that thorough deliberations were also held on expenditure outcomes, sources said that Chief Secretary has asked all the Administrative Departments to ensure that there are tangible and significant outcomes for every expenditure incurred. “The Administrative Secretaries should ensure that each work must have definite utility and only after satisfying that expenditure would be of value addition, sanction be accorded for undertaking such works”, they said quoting the directions of Dr Mehta.
The departments have been asked to identify and cut out the expenses on non-essential works vis-a-vis renovation and up-gradation and ensure optimum utilization of funds in lieu of valuable outcomes.
In response to a question, sources said that the aim of the new guidelines for implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes is to ensure effective cash management and improve transparency in public expenditure management.
It is pertinent to mention here that in order to align the public funded schemes with the financial resource cycle of Central and State/UT Governments, schemes were made co-terminous with the Finance Commission cycles during the 12th Five Year Plan. The 14th Finance Commission period came to an end on March 31, 2020.
However, as the final report of the 15th Finance Commission was awaited at that time, the Union Ministry of Finance in January 2020 approved an interim extension to all ongoing schemes till March 31, 2021 or till the date of recommendations of 15th Finance Commission come into effect.
Now, proposals for continuation of ongoing schemes beyond March 31, 2021 have been sought from all the Ministries and new guidelines have been issued for the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes.