SRINAGAR: The School Education Department is asking the government for funds required for disbursement of salaries “under some self-defined nomenclatures”, which is “fraught with financial risks and also inimical to the public exchequer”, the Finance Department has recently revealed.
While estimates under salary component had to be prepared “in respect of the staff strength, which stands sanctioned for the department”, a circular issued by Principal Secretary, Finance Department, Navin K Choudhary on March 27 has said that the School Education Department “is projecting salary under “Overall Cadre Strength”, which, by all means, is a wrong practice”, as per the circular.
“This type of practice is fraught with financial risks and also inimical to the public exchequer,” reads the circular by the Finance Department.
About the “problem” that, as per the circular, “mainly persists in the Health and Education Department”, the Finance Department has rued that “due diligence is not being done while preparing salary budget by the departments”.
The “problem for projection of funds over and above cadre strength” in the School Education Department “also arises due to joining/posting and transfer of officers/officials to offices where no posts exist”, the Finance Department’s circular has alleged.
“The transfer and posting of a government employee from rural areas against the nonexistent (Overall Cadre Strength) in urban areas is not only loaded with the risk of payment of higher emoluments, but also prone to extra appointments against the posts left vacant due to such transfers,” reads the circular.
Emphasising that the salaries be drawn “against the sanctioned posts only, which shall include deputation/leave reserve posts also”, the Finance Department’s circular has directed that government servants “against non-existent posts (Overall Cadre Strength) should not be paid at city rates at all”.
“Wherever transfers are made at the insistence of the employees, the salary of all such government officials should be drawn against the posts where from transferred,” the Finance Department has directed in the circular.
The circular has directed all the departments to not book any expenditure on salaries “unless the same has been budgeted for”.
A top official in the Finance Department told Kashmir Reader that there was “nothing like Overall Cadre Strength” under which the School Education Department has been alleged to be asking for salaries from the government.
“The terminology in the salary budgeting is fixed,” he added.
As a result of transfers of officials in the School Education Department from rural areas to Srinagar, the official said that the transferred employees were “entitled to twice the House Rent Allowance (HRA) as compared to rural areas”.
“The employees transferred to Srinagar city get 18 percent HRA against just nine percent in rural areas where they are originally posted. Naturally, it puts an extra burden on the government exchequer,” added the Finance Department official.
Director School Education, Kashmir, G N Itoo did not reply to calls and messages, even after this reporter briefed him through text messages about the Finance Department’s circular.
Secretary School Education Department Rigzin Samphel, who has recently assumed charge, said that he will look into the matter.