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Financial system in J&K is one of the most transparent systems: LG

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Releases ‘Promoting Good Governance’ -- Finance dept’s annual report

Jammu: Asserting that the promotion of good governance in financial management is one of the core objectives of the government, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the financial system in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most transparent systems.

Sinha on Wednesday released annual report  “Promoting Good Governance” compiled by the Finance department to showcase major initiatives undertaken by it in 2020-21 to bring transparency and accountability in the execution of the public works.

“Promoting good governance in the financial management has been one of the core objectives of the government. The financial system in the union territory of J&K is one of the most transparent systems anywhere and is amongst the key changes that have taken roots in the UT,” the LG said.

The report in the form of an e-book provides insight into reforms, steps implemented by the Finance department to “institutionalise prudence” in financial management in J&K, which has “truly transformed the Union Territory”, said an official press release issued here.

The LG also highlighted major reforms taken by the government to bring transparency to the financial system and making it more robust.

Sinha said implementation of transformative reforms such as BEAMS (Budget Estimation and Allocation Monitoring System) that enables online budgetary process and timely release of funds against approved works, online submission of bills through J&K PaySys, and mandatory administrative approvals, among others, have brought financial systems in J&K at par with any other progressive systems in the country.

“Unprecedented levels of transparency have been achieved through EMPOWERMENT (enabling monitoring and public overview of works being executed & resources for meaningful Transparency), which is a web portal that hosts all the works being executed in the UT and allows public oversight of all works under execution,” observed Sinha.

“Our government believes in the mantra of four P’s – Peace, Progress, Prosperity, and People-first, for the holistic development and to make Jammu and Kashmir Atmanirbhar,” he said.

It was informed that the Goods and Service Tax (GST) revenue collections in the financial year 2020-21 has shown positive growth despite constraints witnessed during the initial months of the fiscal year due to Covid-led restrictions.

GST collections in the Union Territory had plummeted by more than 70 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) during the lockdown months of April, May, and June last year. Gross GST revenue collections including settlement for 2020-21 in J&K stood at Rs 4890.35 crores against a total gross GST collection of Rs 4750.60 crores in the 2019-20, thus registering a positive growth of 2.94 percent, the official press release informed.

It said despite Covid related periods of restrictions, the Excise revenue collection in 2020-21 grew at 5.36 percent. Total excise revenue generated during 2020-21 stood at Rs 1353.43 crores.

“One of the major transformations witnessed was the timely payments from Treasuries. This was one of the hallmarks of treasury management in 2020-21. The unhealthy practice of clearing of contractor bills, GPF, Gratuity, etc., after months were completely stopped and payments were made within a day invariably. Delay reports at the level of DDOs and Treasuries are being institutionalized to avoid delays in due payments. Revised Audit Manual, Budget Manual and Treasury Code have been notified by the government to streamline expenditure and payment systems,” the press release informed.

Government of J&K has made electronic mode of payments mandatory without involving any cash transactions from 2020-21. Promotion of digital payment ensured transparency, timeliness, and accountability in transaction of government business and complete streamlining of payment systems across the Union Territory. The payment in DBT mode has also been made mandatory which has led to a great impact on timely payments to more than 80 lakh beneficiaries. With the introduction of the just-in-time payment system through DBT, nearly 2 lakh duplicate cases of beneficiaries under PDS have been weeded out and 4.5 lakh silent beneficiaries have been deactivated, the press release said.

It said during 2020-21, a holistic package of Rs 1353 crores for inclusive growth was announced as Economic Package.

“About 3.44 lakhs borrowers involving Rs 750 crore benefitted by interest subvention of 5 percent under this Business Revival Package. 5 percent interest subvention was also disbursed for 4,542 borrowers affected by 2014 floods involving an amount of Rs 37.32 crores. Rs 102.31 crores for 20,228 borrowers were released under Business Interest Relief Scheme. 766 beneficiaries benefitted under WCDL (working capital Demand Loan) for business establishments involving Rs 96.68 crores. 61,477 beneficiaries benefitted under GECl-1 involving Rs 1862.19 crores. About 289 beneficiaries benefitted under Business Support Loan General involving Rs 74.37 crores. More than 14,000 beneficiaries were provided Rs 1000 per month for 9 months during 2020-21,” the press release informed.

To empower youth, a livelihood generation scheme “Mumkin” was launched. This scheme provides sustainable livelihood to the youth of Jammu & Kashmir.

“The idea behind this initiative is to provide small commercial vehicles to youth without the need for any initial investment at reasonable subsidies from both the manufacturer and the government, enabling them to earn, the press release said.

“Under Back to Village programme, more than 4000 officers spending two days including night halt in panchayats was an attempt to bring governance at people’s doorsteps. During B2V1 & B2V2, 4000 projects have been completed notwithstanding the constraints like Covid-19 pandemic. Rs 10 lakhs were provided to each panchayat under the B2V3 programme for providing basic and other amenities in villages. Sports kits costing Rs. 20,000 each were distributed in each Gram Panchayat under Back to Village-3 programme and around 20,000 youths were identified for bank finance to start their own venture.

“Similarly, the Finance department provided financial assistance of Rs 57 crores for ‘My Town My Pride’ programme to provide governance at the doorsteps in urban areas on the pattern of the ‘Back to Village’ programme,” press release said.

“J&K Bank has seen complete transformation in its outlook and functioning. The bank has moved into profit zone during the first two quarters of last financial year despite pandemic, and has been successfully able to overcome the past legacy.

“It is a matter of satisfaction that both deposits and advances of the bank have grown up by 12.57 percent and 15.41 percent respectively on Year-on-Year basis in the UT of J&K,” the press release said.

It said first time in history, J&K Bank implemented RTI and CVC guidelines and ensured complete accountability. The bank has now provided loans to over 19,538 young and unemployed youth at their doorsteps as part of Back to Village Programme with sanctioned amount of Rs. 340 crores. Recruitment of 1850 persons was completed during 2020-21.

To bring more people under financial inclusion, an amount of Rs 6021 crores was disbursed to 7,18,258 KCC Crop account holders, Rs 514 crores to 87,615 AH&F account holders and 25.09 lakhs accounts were opened under PMJDY out of which, 3.04 lakhs accounts were opened during FY 2020-21, it said.

Under ANBA, free rice was provided to 98,566 individual beneficiaries and pulses to 31,069 families. Under Covid-19 Regulatory Package, Term loans and working capital disbursed to 361 borrowers amounting to Rs. 39.17 crores. Special credit facility for street vendors with an initial working capital of Rs 1000 disbursed to 11,276 cases under PM-SVANidhi scheme, the press release said.

It said the J&K government has now shifted to real-time ledger posting of General Provident fund and has successfully implemented it from August 2020 onwards.

This has benefitted almost 3.5 lakh GP Fund subscribers who are now able to have their subscriptions posted on real-time basis without any delay.

This initiative would resolve the issue of delay in settlement of final GPF refund cases, issuance of annual accounts statements, and transfer entries.

“SMS service regarding GPF balances of the subscribers has been provided. This is a major employee-oriented initiative. “

Another employee related app “MeraVetan” was launched which provides information of pay level, GPF/NPS subscription, all the allowances, deductions, Income Tax statements, SLT statements etc. This has been fully implemented and employees are using this app to track their salary and other details, it was informed.

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