Govt goes tough, to act against bid to fail transparency system

Liabilities allowed to go up to Rs 600 cr

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 3: The State Government today decided to act tough against the officials and officers including some Engineers, who were defying directives of the Finance Department by not uploading bills with a view to halt Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) mechanism in the crucial month of March when the Government proposed to minimize expenditures to avoid any irregularities at the fag end of financial year.
Top official sources told the Excelsior that officials and officers of Public Health Engineering (PHE) and Public Works Department (PWD) were creating major hurdles in switching over to PAO mechanism by not uploading bills notwithstanding the fact that they have been given advanced training to this effect, thus, trying to virtually ‘sabotage’ the Government’s transparency system, aimed at confining last month’s expenditure to bare minimum to check the “last moment irregularities’’.
“Bills are there. We have money in the system. But the problem is that officials in some of the Government Departments especially PWD and PHE are not uploading the bills, which was a major condition for making the payments as a part of the transparency system. They are trying to work against the system, which is not acceptable to the Government and can’t be allowed at any costs as it could lead to financial irregularities,’’ sources said.
Noting that liabilities had piled up to Rs 600 crores due to delay in payments in view of “non-cooperation’’ from two major Departments, sources said, nevertheless the Government has managed to clear Rs 200 crore liabilities. Rest of the liabilities, they said, will also be cleared as and when the bills are uploaded as there was no shortage of funds at all but certain “vested interests’’ were trying to “play with the system’’.
Asserting that the concerned officials and officers had been briefed very clearly that the State Government will be very liberal and could condone minor mistakes as this was first financial year with the new system and that even some conditions could be relaxed to run the system smoothly, sources said despite such an assurance some of the officials seemed to be “working against the system’’ and the Government now has been left with no other options but to act against them.
“We are not going to hesitate in initiating action against the officials and officers of the Departments, who are “willfully and intentionally’’ trying to sabotage the system that was aimed at transparency in working of the Government and end “corruption and irregularities’’, which were quite common in March, the last month of the financial year,’’ sources said.
They added that a rare situation has been created deliberately wherein the Government has adequate funds available to clear the liabilities but it has piled up as some of the officials and officers were trying to ‘sabotage’ the new system as it would lead to transparency and end the acts of “omissions and commissions’’.
At the same time, sources declared, that the Government won’t succumb to “pressurizing tactics’’ by the “handful of officials’’ and go ahead with implementation of the new system at any cost.
“There can be no going back on the new system. It has to be implemented as it was the only way out to put an end to the irregularities committed in passing the bills during last month of the financial year,’’ sources said, adding that the new system is part of the Finance Department’s list of enforcing discipline in spending and the Government will go ahead with it.
The Government is contemplating action against the officers and officials after identifying them, who were deliberately trying to flop the new system so that the “unhealthy practices’’ continued.
It may be mentioned here that as part of series of financial reforms undertaken by the Finance Ministry, the expenditure during last quarter i.e. from January 1 to March 31, of the financial year has been confined to 30 per cent alone, which means the Departments had to spend 70 per cent of their budget during first three quarters of the financial year.