The Assam government has stopped the salaries of six Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) for non-submission of 58 utilisation certificates (UCs.
In an order issued by the Finance (Audit & Fund) Department of Assam it has been mentioned: “The CAG in its report on State Finance for the Financial Year ended 31st March, 2018 has pointed out that there is a significant number of outstanding Utilization Certificates pending against grants released to various departments since 2001-2002.”
As per the report, for the year 2016-17, the total number of pending Utilization Certificates was 1,782 amounting to Rs. 12,282.52 crore across 53 departments.
“Such huge pendency of Utilization Certificate with the departments reflects of poor compliance with regard to financial norms by the Administrative Departments and is a matter of grave concern for the State Government of Assam,” the order said.
With a view to addressing this problem of timely submission of Utilization Certificates, the Finance Department had held a series of review meeting to impress upon the Departments/DDOs for immediate submission of pending Utilization Certificates.
It also said the Assam Finance Minister assured in the Assembly that pendency of Utilization Certificates for the year 2016-17 would reduce to nil by September 15, 2019.
Subsequently, Finance Department undertook multiple conciliation camps and specific reviews towards this end.
The Accountant General (Accounts), Assam provided necessary assistance to various Administrative Departments in submission of the Utilization Certificates.
The same has been periodically reviewed at the level of the Assam Finance Minister and separately by the Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department and the Principal Secretary, Finance Department and others.
“Despite such efforts, reviews and sensitization by Finance Department, 7 (seven) Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) under 6 (six) Administrative Departments could not bring down their pendency to nil, although time for submission of Utilization Certificate was extended up to 25th November, 2019,” the order said.
Sharing the order issued on Thursday, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “Adhering to principles of good governance and zero tolerance against non-compliance, I am glad to share that in a historic move Government of Assam has stopped salaries of 6 DDOs for non submission of 58 utilization certificates.”
Adhering to principles of good governance and zero tolerance against non-compliance, I am glad to share that in a historic move Government of Assam has stopped salaries of 6 DDOs for non submission of 58 utilization certificates. @PMOIndia @nsitharaman pic.twitter.com/qWDRQ5ZPmJ
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) December 5, 2019
The DDOs, who salaries have been stopped are: the member secretary of Assam State Legal Service Authority, Kamrup (Home & Political dept); Director, Secondary Education, Kahilipara (Education dept); Chief Executive Officer, GMDA; Director, Char Area Development, Jatia (Welfare of Minority Development dept); director, Agriculture, Khanapara; ADC (Dev)/Sr. Planning Officer, Tezpur and deputy commissioner, Dhemaji.