Centre threatens to stop funds to state

Centre threatens to stop funds to state
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Highlights

Irked by delay in submission of audit reports and utility certificates against the funds released for various head accounts, Union finance ministry warned the state that it will not release further funds.

Visakhapatnam: Irked by delay in submission of audit reports and utility certificates against the funds released for various head accounts, Union finance ministry warned the state that it will not release further funds.

Highlights:

  • The state received Rs 6,726 cr funds under various accounts for the past three years
  • A state finance department official admits that there is delay in submission of audit reports and utility certificates against the funds received from the Centre, attributes it to the ‘adjustment’ of funds from one account to another one

Though the Centre has been releasing funds for the construction of capital city, Polavaram project, filling of revenue deficit and Special Development Funds (SDF) to seven districts, the sources in the finance ministry said that the state government is not sending audit reports, status of works and utility certificates against the received funds.

The Centre made it clear that the special assistance funds will be released after the audited final accounts against the funds received.

The Centre released Rs 6,726.50 crore in the past three years for execution of various works. Apart from these, it also released Rs 3,285 crore under MGNREGS in the present fiscal. The Centre noticed that there is a delay in payment of the wages in the state under the NREGS.

Due to the non-availability of funds, for the last three weeks, the state government has not been paying wages under the scheme. However, the Union finance ministry said that it is continuously releasing funds under the MGNREGS and the payment of wages is state government's responsibility.

When contacted, a senior official in the state finance department admitted that there was a delay in sending audit reports and utility certificates to the Centre regarding various projects. “Not only the Central government, any funding agency will ask the audit reports and utility certificates of the said works against the funds it released.

The state government is taking up several works under various head accounts and sometimes the funds will be adjusted from one account to another. It is a regular process in any government.

After bifurcation of the state, the government is facing a lot of troubles to meet the needs of the state. It is not correct to say the Central funds have been diverted to other than intended works. They are just adjustments in view of the urgency in meeting the tasks," the senior official said.

He said the Centre has been releasing Rs 350 crore for seven districts as a Special Development Funds for the past three years. It also released Rs 2,303 crore in 2014-15, Rs 500 crore in 2014-16 and Rs 1,176 crore in 2016-17 to fill revenue deficit of the state.

But the Centre has released Rs 200 crore only for construction of Polavaram project while the state has been spending huge amounts for early completion of the project, the official added. Meanwhile, panchayat raj department has been taking up over 90 per cent of the works in the villages under the MGNREGS. For the last two-and-a-half months, the state government has been facing trouble in paying wages to the workers.

A district collector told The Hans India that inadequate staff, failure to record and report attendance in time, delay in reporting of measurements, delay in data entries and poor internet connectivity were some of the reasons for a delay in the payment of wages under NREGS.

"As a collector, I have powers to draw funds from any account/department to meet my priorities. However, once I have received funds I will adjust to the accounts according to immediate needs. It is not diversion of funds. It is true that there is a financial crisis across the state and the Centre should also notice that the state is just three-years old and having several issues," he said.

By VKL Gayatri

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