The government is contemplating to replace the existing Treasury system with Pay and Accounts Office (PAO). The system is currently in operation among various central government ministries and to implement the same scheme in the state of Jammu and Kashmir the government has already made an announcement in the state legislature during the budget session.
Even though no formal decision has been taken by the government but a committee of senior officers has been constituted to study the PAO system of GoI so that the committee comes up with suggestions to start our own such system in J&K. The Committee after having several deliberations and discussions has evolved a workable PAO model for the state.
Bringing a reform in the existing treasury system in the state is a welcome step. Primarily, because almost every individual of the state is connected to the treasuries as all the government spending is disbursed through the treasury system that is presently in vogue here.
Therefore before initiating any reform a thorough checks and balances system is needed to be put in place so that the people are not left to inconveniences at any point of time.
The key elements of GoIs PAO system should be incorporated in the proposed system which would ensure better understanding of the department resulting in accurate forecasting, budgeting, accounting and reporting.
An inbuilt pre-check mechanism in PAO system should be put in place to monitor and control the purpose and objective of payments, budgetary sanctions and ceilings, proper classification, and excess payment issues.
All this is presently missing in the current setup and the end result is chaos at the time of disbursal or releasing of government money. What adds to the chaos is the habit of treasuries staff to keep bills pending for payments till the last hour. The news system should take care of this ailment that affects the staff in the treasuries.
That makes us to stress on improving the organizational structure under the proposed system and its functioning to bring positive change in the existing payment system.
Besides, before taking any final call there is a need to further lower down the layers in the system dealing with the government payments. The government should carry out administrative reforms in the draft PAO Model so that the objective behind moving out of treasuries system can be achieved.
The new PAO system should ensure major changes in the payment system and should simplify the whole process of payment. Instead of receiving the receipts and disbursing the payments of numerous departments as in the treasury system, the PAO should deal with just one channel.