The Finance Department has called for expediting the pace of expenditure by the Government Departments in view of early release of funds this fiscal in pursuance to the announcement by the Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu in his budget speech in the State Legislature January this year.
The Finance Minister had, in his budget speech, announced a slew of measures aimed at streamlining the expenditure with systematic spending initiatives as a first step towards bringing economic stability in the State.
“In view of the timely release of funds to the line departments for the current fiscal, in February 2017, by the Finance and Planning & Development Departments, there is absolutely no reason that balanced pace of expenditure should not be ensured by all the departments,” said an order issued today by the Principal Secretary Finance, Navin Kumar Choudhary.
Pertinently, as a major expenditure reform initiative aimed at streamlining and speeding up spending in the Government Departments, the Finance Department had for the first time in the fiscal history of J&K released 50% of the current year’s budget allocation to all the Departments in February 2017 well in advance to ensure timely execution of the developmental works.
According to the order issued today, the decision conveyed in February 2017 itself is reiterated again that expenditure during the last quarter of the financial year 2017-18 shall be limited to 30% budget allocation on both Revenue and Capex side.
“All the un-utilized funds over and above 30% of the budgeted amount on both Revenue and Capex side as on 3I December 2017 shall be automatically forfeited and will not be allowed to be used for any other purposes,” the order said adding that, as has been made clear in the Govt Order No: 28-F of 2017 dated: 08-02-2017, the expenditure should not be more 15% of the budget estimates in the month of March 2018.
The order further reiterated that all powers related to re-appropriation and re-distribution of funds vested in the Administrative Departments, HoDS and DDOs stand withdrawn and any proposal for re-appropriation will be considered on merits in the Finance Department only in respect of savings to be utilized for authorized pending work done liabilities, salary shortfalls etc.
Payments in the last month shall be made only for goods and services already procured. No amounts shall be released in advance except in cases of advance payments to contractors under terms of duly executed contracts so that Government would not renege on its legal or contractual obligations, any loans or advances to Government servants etc or private individuals as a measure of relief and rehabilitation as per service conditions or on compassionate grounds and any other exceptional case with the approval of the Finance Department.
The order said that the rush of expenditure on procurement should be avoided during the last month of the financial year so as to ensure that all procedures are complied with and there is no infructuous or wasteful expenditure. The Director Finance/Financial Advisors have been asked to specially monitor this aspect in their respective departments.
“Proposals of Advance Drawal, Revalidation, Authorization etc. if any, pertaining to Financial Year 2017-18 shall be submitted to the Finance Department well before 28 February 2018. No such proposal shall be entertained by the Finance Department after 28 February 201 8,” it said adding that the proposals for parking of money in “Civil Deposits” in order to avoid lapsing of funds shall not be entertained and processed. “Issuance of Hundies stands already banned. The Departments are advised not to move any proposal in this regard.
Treasury Offices will not entertain any bill/cheque for payment after working hours on 29 March 2018, pertaining to the Financial Year 2017-18 and all the DDOs have been asked to plan their bill presentations accordingly at treasury.
“Under no circumstances, any Bill in respect of Financial Year 2017-18 will be received in the Treasuries on the last two working days of financial year i.e. 30 and 31 March 2018, the date on which only payments will be made and accounts reconciled,” it said adding that the Administrative Secretaries must effectively supervise and shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of these fiscal measures.
“Financial Advisors shall assist the respective Departments in securing compliance with these measures and also submit regular report to the Department of Finance,” the order said.