Submission of utilisation certificates
The Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to submit utilisation certificates for grants worth more than Rs 10,000 crores to the Centre till March 2021. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) fresh report on finances of Jammu and Kashmir for the year ending in March 2021, as many as 3,215 number of Utilisation Certificates for grants paid up to 30 September 2019 amounting to Rs 10,076.58 crore were outstanding up to 31 March, 2021; 1,461 UCs are awaiting submission for grants worth Rs 5,725.99 crore in 2018-19, followed by 345 UCs for Rs 1,248.21 crore in 2019-20 and 3,215 UCs for Rs 3,102 crores in 2020-21. A department-wise breakup of outstanding UCs shows that 83.90 percent of these pertain to four departments, of which 57.07 percent pertain to the Education department only. The non-submission of the UCs means that the authorities have not explained as to how funds were spent over the years and in absence of UCs there is no assurance that the intended objectives of providing these funds have been achieved and this assumes greater importance if such UCs are pending against grants-in-aid meant for capital expenditure.
Failure of submission of utilisation certificates for grants is in no way good for the developmental process of the Union Territory. While the LG administration seems keen to put Jammu and Kashmir on the fast tracks of progress and development, such lapses are undoubtedly going to impact this process adversely. It is in this backdrop that CAG has recommended the government to hold into account those responsible for submission of UCs in a timely manner and since non-submission of UCs is fraught with risks of misappropriation, it is imperative that the government should monitor this aspect closely. Given its troubled past and political instability, Jammu and Kashmir’s economy has taken a hit and the developmental process has been very slow. Now that the LG administration is committed to ensure that the developmental process gets a boost, those responsible for such lapses and doing no good to the UT. Fortunately the work culture here has improved a lot and the changes can been seen on the ground but those who don’t do justice with their assigned jobs, should not go scot free. In accordance with CAG recommendations, it is therefore necessary that the LG administration takes a serious notice of the issue and identifies those responsible for such lapses. Accountability is key to a responsible and responsive governance and therefore, no matter whosoever in the erring departments is responsible for the failure of submission of utilisation certificates, should be made questionable.