Srinagar, Feb 6: After slashing security related expenditure (SRE), Union Ministry of Home Affairs has raised serious questions over the use of funds in Jammu and Kashmir.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a budget presented earlier this week, allocated Rs 513 crore under SRE scheme for Jammu and Kashmir for 2020-21. The allocation is very less compared to previous years. Since 1989, when the scheme was introduced, Centre has spent around Rs 8000 crore for the reimbursement of SRE to J&K.
During 2018-19 Centre allotted Rs 650 crore to J&K under the SRE scheme. In 2017-18, Centre had allotted Rs 628 crore. However, in 2016-17 Centre had allotted Rs 1185 crore as SRE for J&K.
The SRE is to support the logistical requirements of the J&K police to combat militancy in the new Union Territory.
It provides 100% reimbursement of expenditure for carriage of constabulary, honorarium of SPOs, logistical support to security forces (SFs), construction of alternate accommodation for SFs etc.
However, MHA has raised serious questions over the use of allotted funds in J&K.
According to an order of J&K’s Finance Department, the MHA has found a violation of basic codal formalities and guidelines framed for the SRE in J&K.
“During the course of internal audit by MHA with regard to reimbursement under SRE, certain observations with respect to non-observance of basic codal formalities and guidelines set up by SRE standing committee were found. In some cases it was found that no codal formalities have been followed while procuring materials under SRE scheme,” reads the order issued by Financial Commissioner, Finance, Arun Kumar Mehta.
The MHA audit has found that most of the drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) have not produced copies of main abstract of treasury vouchers for verification. Instead they have brought only sub-vouchers of firms and abstract registers.
“The advance payment made by police headquarters to CRPF was claimed for reimbursement without ascertaining the actual expenditure incurred by the user entity. None of the DDO maintains a separate cash book for SRE thereby causing difficulty to ascertain the expenditure booked under SRE,” it reads.
As per the order, most of the DDOs have submitted statements of their claims under SRE scheme without mentioning the amount of VAT/SGST etc.
The Financial Commissioner has directed DDOs to comply with the directives and follow codal formalities and guidelines in letter and spirit while making payments. “Any deviation from the above instruction in future shall attract severe consequences,” adds the order.