Syed Junaid Hashmi
JAMMU, Feb 10: Jammu and Kashmir government is not going to table complete audit report of the state finances produced by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the year 2016-17 in the two houses of state legislature during the current session.
Sources said that the report has been submitted to the office of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India where the same is being re-verified. Once the same is done, the report would be sent to the Governor for getting assent. After the assent of Governor N.N.Vohra, it would be tabled in the two houses of the state legislature.
Sources said that it is highly unlikely that the report would be tabled in the house during this budget session. “It would now be tabled during the next budget session. There were issues which were pointed out by the CAG. The issues are being addressed and once, the same is complete, report would be sent to the Governor for assent,” said a source in the office of Accountant General (AG) Jammu. He added that the CAG is reading every word of the report himself.
“This is happening for the first time that CAG is looking into the minor and major issues in the report himself. This has hardly ever happened. We have been asked to be doubly sure about whatever we note in the accounts of the state government,” added the source. When asked about the reports released to the media, an official in the office of Accountant General (AG) said “We have released two volumes of Finance Accounts 2016-17, report of the appropriation accounts and a small booklet of Accounts at a Glance 2016-17.”
“Besides this, we have also released Annual Technical Inspection Report on Urban Local Bodies for the year ended March 31, 2016. These reports are signed by Accountant General (Audit) Jammu and Kashmir. Since they are not to be submitted to the office of CAG, New Delhi; we have released them to the media. Those which are actually the indicator of financial irregularities and other happenings in various departments and PSUs are held up since CAG wants to be doubly sure before the same are released and become part of state legislature,” added the official.
He informed that the pending reports include the ones which are to be signed by the CAG himself. “These include Report 1 of 2017 Social, General, Economic (Non-PSUs) sectors, Jammu and Kashmir; State Finances Report 2017 – Jammu and Kashmir; Report 3 of 2017 – Revenue Sector Jammu and Kashmir; Report 2 of 2017 – Social, General, Economic PSUs Sectors Jammu and Kashmir and Report No.6 of 2016-Revenue Sector and Public Sector Undertakings Government of Jammu and Kashmir,” said the official. He maintained that these reports were ready but the CAG raised certain queries due to which it was decided that the same would not be sent to the state government.
An official told Jammu and Kashmir Newspoint on the condition of anonymity that CAG report was not being presented to the legislatures concerned on time, as it is being deemed inconvenient by the government of the day, aborting the scope for timely legislative scrutiny and follow-up remedial action, including a fixing of responsibility on the functionaries concerned. “Thus, there is clear undermining of constitutional system, impeding the accountability of the executive to the legislature by not allowing the CAG to perform his or her constitutionally mandated role and serve the state adequately in the area of financial oversight,” said the official.
“Due to this approach, accountability of executive to the legislature, whose members are representatives of people, and the legislature’s ability to adequately work on the audit’s outcome is being impeded. Such a feedback and accountability mechanism is an essential component of the CAG’s accountability to the state,” said the official. He added that the report should not have been delayed and instead, it should have been presented at the time of presentation of the budget.