Non submission of Utilization Certificates

Accountability in utilization of funds, the purpose of spending of the funds , the end use, transparency and proper records etc are the cardinal characteristics of funds management followed by proper scrutiny, audit and other post spending verifications. It, therefore, implies in simpler parlance that a statement or a certificate or an undertaking depending upon the prescribed formats to this effect needs to be submitted to the concerned authorities. Any institution especially the ones, getting funds-in- aid or grants or financing of a particular project from the Government must submit the requisite utilization certificate. This , therefore, holds true of states vis-a-vis the Central Government as well. As a natural corollary, therefore, in case any project is financed on back to back basis and by means of releasing of stage- wise instalments, the next release of such instalment depended upon how the earlier one was utilized, partially utilized, wrongly utilized or not utilized at all.
Undermining the importance of timely submission of such Utilization Certificate by the Jammu and Kashmir Government has resulted in constituting of a financial indiscipline of the sorts inviting the resultant drastic reduction of funding under Border Area Development Programme by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs . It has been learnt that these funds have been reduced from Rs.198.89 crores during the financial year 2017-18 to Rs. 69.79 crores for the period 2018-19 for the simple reason that the State Government did not submit Rs.47.74 crore worth Utilization Certificate of the previous financial year.
What could be reasons for being among the defaulting states in this manner is not known when the present system has made such submission of necessary documents easier via on-line mode whereby any clarification, appending of notes or any putting forth of information even subsequently has been made simpler and time saving. The importance of this Certificate in respect of Jammu and Kashmir State can be gauged by the fact that the funding has remained significant and the same were, on many occasions, increased too when submission of such certificates was not in arrears.
It is revealed that such certificates have not been submitted for the last three financial years consecutively, the break-up of which is already available . How could such a lapse , probably intentional, take place when the issue at stake is the development of the border areas and timely submission of mandatory Utilization Certificates could have averted the situation of stalling of the funds by the Ministry of Home Affairs . In fact, the Central Government has always been desirous of being considerate towards releasing of funds for the state and even at times, duly according sanction for increase therein especially when the same are slated to be spent on the development of our border areas. This gets buttressed further by the fact that during the period 2010-11 to 2018-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs has provided as much as Rs. 1227.94 crores under Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
The procedure and the guidelines prescribed by the Union Ministry are not any complex ones under the Scheme as funds are released to the states in two instalments and the funding for the subsequent year is based on the confirmation of expenditure and receipt of approved list of schemes. The first instalment of ninety percent is released only after submission of Utilization Certificate for the amount released in the previous years except the preceding year.
Since the lapse appears to be as a result of the lackadaisical and casual approach of the concerned officers of the State Government due to which the development of our border areas is likely to be affected, accountability must be established so that no one in future affords to sit on preparation and submission of such vital but simple documents of no optional nature