PDD, RDD among several Govt deptts fail to clear Rs 280 cr payments of suppliers

Directions issued for expediting codal formalities

FD seeks reports on weekly basis from Nodal Officers

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Nov 10: Several departments of the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have failed to clear Rs 280 crore worth payments of suppliers during the past quite long time thereby putting them to severe financial crisis. Now, the Finance Department has taken certain initiatives to ensure that liabilities are cleared gradually and prevailing situation is improved.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that several Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Small Scale Industries Development Corporation, JK Cements, Handloom Corporation and several other wings of the Industries Department made supplies of key materials like cement, iron, steel, bitumen, wire crates, furniture, power distribution transformers, conductors and poles to different Government departments in order to meet their requirements.
However, due to non-release of payments by the departments, the liabilities continued to pile up and ultimately crossed Rs 330 crore. Moreover, due to failure of the Government departments to make timely payments the Small Scale Units, the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and the entities which come under the administrative control of Industries and Commerce Department started suffering for want of their capital requirements.
The issue was also discussed in numerous meetings of the committee constituted by the Government to examine the pending payments to suppliers from each department and accordingly directions were issued to the concerned departments for reconciliation of outstanding figures with the concerned Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) in the time bound manner.
However, there was no major improvement in the situation and finally the issue was discussed in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Financial Commissioner Finance Department, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta recently.
Approximate amount of Rs 330 crore was pending with the Government departments out of which Rs 50 crore were cleared but still Rs 280 crore are still pending with departments at various stages, official sources said quoting the minutes of the meeting while disclosing that major departments in which the payments are pending during the past quite long time are Power Development Department, Rural Development Department, Jal Shakti, Irrigation and Flood Control and Public Works (R&B) Department.
They disclosed that Financial Commissioner Finance Department has directed all the concerned departments to immediate compile the details of such payments and expedite them at the earliest.
“Moreover, all the departments have been asked to identify payments pending more than three months within their departments and take steps to expedite and complete all codal formalities”, sources said, adding “even the Industries and Commerce Department has been asked to submit a report of outstanding payment of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and others as per their records pending with various departments”.
The major departments like Power Development, Rural Development, Jal Shakti, Irrigation and Flood Control and PW(R&B) have also been asked to appoint Nodal Officer in their respective departments to provide details of pending payments cleared on weekly basis to the Finance Department clearly indicating the reasons for payments pending beyond three months.
They said that the issue of pending payments will again be discussed by the Financial Commissioner Finance Department with the Administrative Secretaries of all the concerned departments, who will also submit details of payments pending in their respective departments.
“It is a matter of serious concern that despite numerous meetings convened on the subject the departments have failed to clear the liabilities”, sources said, adding “the Government is required to issue detailed guidelines to all the departments and fix the timelines within which the payments of MSMEs and wings of the Industries and Commerce Department are to be cleared in future”.
“Moreover, mechanism should be evolved to fix the responsibilities so that whosoever delays the release of payments is taken to task”, sources further stressed, adding “timely payments would put an end to putting enormous burden on the exchequer of the departments and bring an end to the sufferings of the suppliers”.