High pendency of Utilization Certificates

The purpose and the end use of money sanctioned and released by the Government for any project or work must not only be in the manner and intent for which sanctioned and released but the same needs to be certified and submitted too in a standard format to the concerned authorities. Known as ”Utilization Certificate” (UC) in accounting parlance and even ”end – use certificate” in Banking parlance , may also be countersigned or verified by Chartered Accountants but definitely perused by the auditors. In those projects where stage wise funds are released commensurate with the design and the pattern of project work , the second or the next instalment can ordinarily be released only when it was known whether the first or the last dose or instalment released was actually utilised for which it was sanctioned. In other words, it denotes that the next instalment of funds cannot be released unless the UC in respect of the instalment released last was submitted. Having said this, there are instances when the concerned Utilization Certificates were not submitted at all or submitted not within the specified timeframe. Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health Department etc are notable among the defaulting Departments in the matter under reference in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
What for , after all, are Financial Rules made if the same are not strictly followed? Under the Rules , it has been specified that grants and funds or even loans which are provided for specific purposes , it is incumbent upon the concerned Departmental Head to ensure Utilization Certificates were submitted to the concerned authorities who after verifying the same must forward such Certificates to the Accountant General (A&E) Jammu and Kashmir within 18 months from the date of the sanction of such grants, aid etc . Not only are such certificates in high pendency with most of the departments in Jammu and Kashmir but it is to be just believed that “accounting and financial innocence ” is to this extent that in respect of 10 Autonomous Bodies, which are bound to render annual accounts to the CAG , 84 important accounts were not submitted for period from 1 to 24 years. It may be recalled that the Autonomous Bodies are statutorily required to submit their annual accounts and corresponding statements and information to the CAG necessarily by June 20 every year. Another 55 such Bodies are yet to submit their annual accounts of -as on March 2019 – despite the matter having been taken with them “time and again”.
At the outset, even if due to ignorance, non seriousness or any other reason such a certificate was not prepared and submitted , it provides enough scope to smell a rat that something was fishy and misappropriation like instances must have been there which was being tried to be kept back even if there would in fact be no irregularity or (mis) utilization of funds having taken place. Since matters related to finances cannot be left to chance or critical requirements of verifications, accuracies, end-use, proper utilization, stipulated terms and conditions etc waived, Utilization Certificate and its timely submission, therefore, is non- negotiable which is why even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India peruses , scrutinises and verifies the same. Since defaulting on this important count being rampant as found out by the CAG, it has recommended to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to consider discontinuing (sanctioning of) grants to the defaulting departments and autonomous bodies with the record of high pendency of this important certificate which were a grave violation of Financial Rules . Since various risks are associated with this lapse, hence such a direction from the country’s supreme auditors to the UT Government must stir the levels of responsibility of those who are required to comply in submitting the UCs.