BHUBANESWAR: Officers will now face the music for improper handling of funds. Taking serious note of funds for Government schemes being parked in bank accounts, the State Government has warned all departments of action for withdrawing funds from treasury without immediate requirement and parking the money in accounts. Principal Secretary of Finance department Ashok KK Meena has shot off letters to all departments stating that withdrawal of funds from the treasury and parking the same in banks is neither permissible nor desirable as far as State Government funds are concerned.
“If any officer is found to have willfully withdrawn money from the treasury without immediate requirement and parked it in banks, he will be held responsible for committing financial irregularity and causing loss to the State exchequer,” he said. The Finance Secretary has made it clear that shifting of funds from one bank to another without valid reasons or obtaining due permission from the competent authority will be treated as financial irregularity and is punishable as per law.
He has asked Financial Advisors and Assistant Financial Advisors of all departments to remain careful while sanctioning funds and ensure that the funds are drawn as per immediate necessity and not to park in bank accounts. The direction came in the wake of a circular issued by the Controller General of Accounts, Government of India, mandating deposit of funds of implementing agencies at the State and district level in respect to Central Sector Schemes (CSSs) only in public sector banks and regional rural banks.
In July though the Finance department had advised the departments and public sector undertakings to instruct their agencies to obtain approval of Collector and that of governing body or board of directors in case of PSUs and furnish cogent reasons for shifting deposits.
Officers warned on handling Govt funds
Instead, there has been an unhealthy competition among the banks to solicit Government deposits from different departments and entities. There are also allegations and counter-allegations implicating officers for acting in mala-fide. “While CSS funds need to be handled as per the prescribed guidelines, funds for State schemes can be utilised from treasury. The amount which is to be spent within a month can only be drawn from treasury keeping in view its immediate necessity.
Any deviation will be dealt with strictly,” added Meena. As per the guidelines prepared for CSS implemented in State, district and sub-district level, funds are to be parked in flexi accounts instead of savings bank accounts so that higher interest accruals from scheme funds can be ploughed back to expand coverage of the scheme without affecting the fund flow.