Repeated reminders of FD not being taken seriously
*Treasury Officers won’t entertain bills without photographs
JAMMU, July 4: Several Government departments in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have been soft-paddling on submission of proof of the developmental works completed during 2019-20 financial year under Capex Budget despite repeated reminders from the Finance Department.
The slackness on their part is notwithstanding the fact that all the Treasury Officers have already been directed not to entertain any bill without photographs of the works shown to have been completed by the departments.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as desired by the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Financial Commissioner Finance Department Arun Kumar Mehta, the Development Expenditure Division-II in the Finance Department vide Communication No.FD/DED-II/03/2020-21 dated May 29, 2020 asked all the departments to submit photographs of the works completed under Capex Budget 2019-20.
As there was no compliance to the instructions, the Finance Department issued a reminder on June 16, 2020 to all the Administrative Secretaries asking them to ensure that photographs of all such works which have been completed during 2019-20 were furnished to the Development Expenditure Division as early as possible.
They were categorically told to get the name of work, date of start, date of completion and completion cost depicted on each photograph so that analysis of the developmental works could be conducted. Astonishingly, even the reminder of the Finance Department was not taken seriously and this compelled the Development Expenditure Division to issue fresh communication on June 22, 2020.
In the letter of June 22, 2020, which was also marked as ‘most urgent’, the Administrative Secretaries were asked to get the name of work, date of start, date of completion and completion cost depicted on each photograph and furnish the same through special messenger within three days positively.
However, majority of the departments have failed to implement the instructions even after repeated communications from the Finance Department and this can be gauged from the fresh letter dated July 1, 2020 issued by Director General, Development Expenditure Division-II Tariq Ahmed, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
Reiterating that photographs of all such works (state sector), which have been completed during 2019-20 depicting the name of the work with location, date of commencement, date of completion, estimated cost, completion cost, number of people benefited and comments of the stakeholders be furnished without any further delay, the Director General has requested the Administrative Secretaries to take into consideration few more points while providing the proof of the developmental works.
“Only one photograph is required to be provided for each work completed during 2019-20. However, the photograph should be of very good quality helping the viewer to access what has actually been done on ground”, read the communication, which has also been marked as ‘most urgent’.
He has also brought to the notice of the Administrative Secretaries, Director Planning, Director Finance, Joint Director and Deputy Director Planning in all the departments that Finance Department had issued categorical directions during 2019-20 to all the Treasury Officers not to entertain any bill without photographs of the works.
“The repeated communications of the Development Expenditure Division-II of the Finance Department clearly indicate that the most urgent matters are being handled with absolute slackness in majority of the departments”, sources said, adding “since there is Director or Deputy Director Planning and Finance in all the Government departments there should not have been any difficulty in furnishing the requisite information to the Finance Department for its analysis”.
They said, “the objective behind seeking photographs of the completed works with details on important points is to ascertain the exact status of the work on the ground and the benefit provided to the people by spending the money from Government exchequer”.
“Moreover, this exercise will help in identifying whether there is duplication of the developmental works and making the executing agencies accountable for the delay in execution of works if any”, sources further said, adding “this step will also help the Government in ascertaining how many projects have witnessed cost escalation and accordingly explanation can be sought from the executing agencies”.