GUWAHATI, March 4 � The poor financial management of the Government of Assam has been exposed as over the years, the utilisation certificates of the funds received from the Centre could not be provided, while there have also been serious instances of unlawful diversion of funds. Moreover, huge withdrawal of funds by various departments in the month of March is also a matter of serious concern.
A presentation by Principal Accountant General of Assam, Shantanu Basu, the transcripts of which are available with The Assam Tribune, revealed large-scale irregularities indulged in by the Assam Government in matters of financial management. The presentation gave a detailed account of the receipts from the Government of India and the Central grants-in-aid in the years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 and revealed that the State failed to provide as many as 19,830 utilisation certificates in respect of spending of Rs 12,688.11 crore.
Moreover, the senior AG official pointed out that there was overwriting on some of the utilisation certificates, while there were instances where mutilated and hardly legible copies were submitted. In fact, in the presentation, several such copies were attached and most of those are not at all legible and overwriting was done not once, but several times. It is difficult for the AG office to accept such utilisation certificates, Basu pointed out in his presentation. Same is the case with acceptance of various bills by the officers authorised to do so and the bills attached with the presentation revealed that in case of passing various bills, the Government officials concerned failed to fully follow the rules.
The presentation revealed that abnormally high withdrawals by various departments of the State Government in the month of March have become a cause of serious concern. Between 2004-05 and 2013-14, different departments of the Assam Government withdrew an amount of Rs 62,164.54 crore in the month of March itself, the presentation revealed.
Unlawful diversion of funds by different Government departments in clear violation of the financial rules is another major problem in the Assam Government and only four departments indulged in diversion of Rs 770.25 crore in the year 2013-14. Of those, the secondary education department indulged in unlawful diversion of Rs 257.04 crore, elementary education department diverted Rs 112.29 crore, higher education department diverted Rs 126.43 crore and the Social Welfare Department diverted Rs 274.49 crore in that year in clear violation of the rules.
Almost every month of the current financial year up to the month of October, delayed receipts of treasury accounts was a common phenomenon. Delayed accounting impedes the quality of governance and affects future resource planning while, at the same time, it leads to uncertain cash management. This also exposes ineffective internal monitoring, the presentation said.