Timely submission of UCs remains least priority for majority of deptts

Slackness prevails despite numerous communiques from Centre
Callousness impacts flow of funds, hampers development

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Mar 22: Despite severe criticism from Union Ministries and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India after regular intervals, majority of the State Government departments are still not showing seriousness in timely submission of the Utilization Certificates (UCs) of the funds being received under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes thereby adversely impacting flow of financial assistance and hampering the development of the State.
Financial Rules provide that for the grants provided for specific purposes Utilization Certificates should be obtained by the departmental heads from the concerned officers and then forwarded to the concerned Union Ministries within the specified time-frame so as to pave the way for release of subsequent instalments of the funds earmarked under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
Keeping these Rules in mind, the Finance Department of the State Government has so far issued several instructions to the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of all the Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of the State Public Sector Undertakings and Autonomous Bodies, Divisional Commissioners and District Development Commissioners for compliance in letter and spirit.
Even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its almost all the reports released so far laid thrust on timely submission of Utilization Certificates while reprimanding the concerned authorities for dilly dallying approach in this regard.
However, the situation has not improved up to the desired level and timely submission of UCs has remained least priority for majority of the Government departments. This can be gauged from the Circular No. FD/Res/CSS/2018-19/309/168 issued by Principal Secretary to Government, Arun Kumar Mehta two days back.
“Centrally Sponsored Schemes play a pivotal role in achieving desired levels of development in the State as such it is important to ensure expeditious implementation of such projects, which necessitates timely submission of UCs and timely achievement of physical and financial milestones”, reads the circular.
It has been noted that departments either avoid follow up or are indifferent towards timely submission of UCs to the concerned Ministries in the Government of India and this adversely impacts flow of Centrally Sponsored Schemes funds and hampers the development of the State, the Principal Secretary Finance Department said in the circular.
The non-serious approach of the departments in submission of UCs is notwithstanding the fact that present Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam in almost every Committee of Secretaries meeting, which he chaired till date, laid thrust on timely submission of UCs.
It is pertinent to mention here that in a joint meeting of the senior officers of the Central and State Governments convened on November 9, 2018, the Chief Secretary had stated: “Capital won’t be a constraint to transform the State’s developmental landscape as the Government of India is liberal in devolution of resources to the State. Just focus on improving operational efficiency of spending and timely submission of Utilization Certificates, you will see seamless flow of funds for development”.
Through the latest circular, the Principal Secretary Finance Department has once again enjoined upon all the Administrative Secretaries to ensure regular follow-up with the concerned Ministries in Government of India for assessing funds under relevant Centrally Sponsored Schemes and ensure timely submission of UCs in respect of all these schemes.
“The current status of the projects funded under various Central Sector Schemes/Centrally Sponsored Schemes with milestones for the financial year 2018-19 and 2019-20 be forwarded to the Finance Department for necessary action immediately”, read the circular.
He has mentioned that if any department has not been able to access funds due to issues related to matching State shares such cases may be brought to the notice of the Finance Department. He has further asked the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments to personally ensure strict adherence of circular instructions by implementing agencies.
“Many a times several Ministries of Union Government either stopped financial assistance or curtailed the same for want of timely submission of UCs but still heads of majority of the departments are not showing strict compliance to the circular instructions and Financial Rules”, sources regretted and hoped that latest instructions will be taken seriously by all the concerned.