In a first, J&K to have own Finance Comm to govern Central grants

Govt to adopt quarterly system of accounts

CAG queries not to be delayed beyond 2 months

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 29: In a first, Jammu and Kashmir will have its own Finance Commission which will be constituted by the President of India with a term of five years while the Parliament of India will determine pre-requisites for appointment as members of the Commission and the manner in which they will be selected. After every five years, the new Finance Commission will come into force.
The Commission will almost be in lines with the Finance Commission of India and guiding force in regulating finances in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It will be constituted shortly, official sources told the Excelsior.
“The Commission will make recommendations to the President on the principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues out of the Consolidated Fund. It will also suggest the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund to supplement resources of the Panchayats on the basis of recommendations by the Finance Commission of the country,” sources said.
The Finance Commission will also suggest measures needed to augment the Consolidate Fund to supplement resources of the Municipalities and other issues which may be referred to it.
The Commission will have a Chairman and four members who will be appointed by the President.
“The President will cause every recommendation made by the Finance Commission under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 together with an explanatory memorandum as to the action taken thereon to be laid before each House of Parliament,” the sources said.
“After a Finance Commission is constituted, no order will be issued except after considering recommendations of the Commission,” sources said.
Asserting that under the Constitution of India it is necessary for the Central Government to pay grant-in-aid to the Federating units to enable them to cover gaps in their income and expenditure, sources pointed out that there are certain taxes which are levied and collected by the Union Government and proceeds of these taxes are also shared by the Centre and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with a formula evolved and adopted by the Finance Commission.
The Appropriation Accounts and Audit Reports will be submitted to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) within time and the queries will not remain unanswered for more than two months.
“The Appropriation Accounts and the Audit Report for the year should generally be made available to the Legislative Assembly before discussion on the budget i.e. by February,” sources said.
According to sources, the Government will be adopting new quarterly system for reconciliation of accounts.
The reconciliation of accounts of first quarters will be done from August 1-15, second quarter from November 1-15, third quarter from February 1-15 and fourth quarter from June 1-15.
They said the Budget Controlling Officers would check in advance for the dates allotted for conduct of quarterly reconciliation and accordingly depute their teams.
The present arrangement, according to sources, for regulating the accounting arrangement is confined to recording sanctions issued by various Ministries of the Government of India from time to time in a year and the credit received there against through the official bankers of the Union Territory Government.
“Responsibility for maintenance of these accounts should be of the Resources Division of the Finance Department. Immediately after budget of a financial year is approved, the Finance Department will open individual accounts of every identified source of flow of funds from the Centre to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Though the accounts will be maintained on yearly basis, but at the same time, these should be arranged in a manner that their position is readily and easily ascertained for the block periods covered by the Finance Commission and various Central Ministries respectively for Revenue and Capital transfers,” sources said.
They added that the indebtedness of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir towards the Central Government will be traced, which will involve maintenance of detailed individual loan accounts, reflecting opening balance at the beginning of a year, amounts received during a year, repayments that have fallen due, repayments made and interest accruals so that outstanding at the close of the year in respect of total debt obligation and debts due to be discharged with interest liability are easily worked out.