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J&K officials parked Rs 390 crore in bank accounts for years violating rules

Last Updated on March 28, 2021 at 8:16 pm

Questions are being raised over government’s functioning as an alleged mismanagement of bank accounts in various government departments of J&K caused non-utilization of hundreds of crores of rupees. Government officials kept public money in bank for many years violating rules.

The government consistently directed many departments to consolidate and streamline funds which were parked in bank accounts of DDOs but they kept on ignoring these instructions. Only Rs 64.10 crore were transferred from bank accounts of DDOs during a time period of December 2016 to February 2017. On the other hand, bank balance in 1,138 bank accounts of 131 Drawing and Disbursing Officers of three Government Departments (Public Works, Revenue and Rural Development) increased from Rs 116.41 crore to Rs 399.94 crore from 2014 to 2019.

This increase in balance was caused by undistributed funds of relief/compensation which were sanctioned for victims of militancy, improper planning and non-completion of schemes, retention of funds, natural disasters, overstatement of expenditure in the Utilisation Certificates, retention of statutory deductions and land compensation outside the Government Account.

The Jammu and Kashmir Financial Code (JKFC) rules mention procedure for withdrawal of funds from treasury by the Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs). JKFC states that DDOs have to present bills/claims to the Treasury Officers (TOs) for withdrawal of funds. Thereafter, these funds are credited by the Treasury to the Bank Account of the DDOs. They issue Bank Advices for sending funds directly into the bank account of the beneficiaries.

DDOs are not allowed to withdraw funds from treasury for the purpose of investment or to deposit elsewhere without Government’s permission. If permission is given then DDOs have to open an account in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited (JKBL) and if there is no such arrangement, then the account can be opened in the Post Office Savings Bank or any other bank after getting a nod of the Finance Department.

Compliance Audit on Management of Bank Accounts in Government Departments was run from February 2019 to February 2020 to verify that DDOs have been following rules regarding financial matters and circulars/instructions issued by the Finance Department.

The government officials’ accumulation of public money in bank accounts has caused non-utilization of over Rs 390 crore in the past five years.