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Rural Development Dept to reinstate 13 officers suspended recently

The thirteen officials who were suspended for allegedly withdrawing developmental funds in unauthorized way are going to be reinstated by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

Baseer Ahmad Khan who is an advisor to Lieutenant Governor has reportedly cleared the file and soon the reinstatement order will be passed.

The suspended officers include two Assistant Commissioners Development (ACDs) and eight Block Development Officers (BDOs) belonging to the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS)

A senior official said that officers will be reinstated within few days as the case has been clearly understood by the government.

It is pertinent to mention that these 13 officials allegedly withdrew from e-FMS (Electronic Financial Management System) unofficially however Block development Officers and Assistant Commissioner Development Officers don’t have any direct role in releasing the payment as the government itself empowered the PRI’s and authorized them to release the payments.

In 2019, the Administrative Secretary to Rural Development Department (RDD) Sheetal Nanda (IAS) issued a notification [Government Order No. 207-RD&PR of 2019 dated 04-07-2019] and detailed how to release Mahatma Gandhi NAREGA funds by Halqa Panchayat as mandated in schedule 1-A of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989. The guidelines, according to this government order, were approved by the State Administrative Council (SAC) [Decision No.152/17/2019 dated 03-07-2019].

According to this notification, the Panchayat Secretary has been designated as Signatory 1 and Sarpanch has been designated as Signatory 2. In absence of an elected Sarpanch, Block Development Officer (BDO) will act as Signatory 2, reads the notification.

The notification says that Signatory 1 (Panchayat Secretary) shall check the attendance of the wage list generated and after due verification send it to signatory 2 (Sarpanch) on the same day without any fail for payments.

The Signatory 2 (Sarpanch), notification says, shall after due verification push the FTO to the bank for disbarment of wages to wage seekers if the funds are available.

The RDD officials said that under Electronic Fund Management System (e-FMS), the Sarpanchs have been provided digital signature (DSC’s) for drawing funds for disbursement directly from e-FMS accounts being maintained at Secretariat Level.

“Under e-FMS, the funds are directly transferred from the state e-FMS account maintained at Secretariat level to the individual beneficiary account electronically and no intermediate account below state e-FMS account is required. The signatory 1 and 2 at Panchayat level directly draw funds through digital signature (DSC) from state e-FMS account and transfer to the individual beneficiary account as maintained in the Act.,” reads notification.

RDD officers are demanding for some powers to supervise the release of payments to avoid any kind of violations.

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