State

PDR urges planning dept to provide financialassistance to deserving beneficiaries

DIMAPUR | Publish Date: 8/28/2018 12:20:02 PM IST

Appreciating the Planning department for releasing list of beneficiaries under Chief Minister's Corpus Fund (CMCF), People for Democratic Rights (PDR) hoped that the department would function in a transparent manner and provide financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries rather than favouring some during selection of beneficiaries.

In a statement issued by its media & publicity affairs, PDR said ever since the Planning & Coordination department had clarified through local dailies on August 22, it had been receiving phone calls from concerned citizens expressing aghast at Rs 16,25,000 having been utilised for purchase of computers, consumable items and stationery out of the Rs 20 lakh released for financial assistance to UPSC candidates in 2016-17 under CMCF.

The group said it was astonished to find out that huge amount of money – Rs 3.45 crore – was released by the finance department to planning department from March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for the purpose of purchasing stationery, computers, printers, administrative expenses and consumables. 

It pointed out that, out of the total amount, Rs 27,48,875 was released twice (totalling Rs 54,97,750) on the same day (January 15, 2018) under DA No. 47 and 51 “for procurement of CNC machine, computers, accessories and consumables under GIS & Remote Sensing Centre” and that both the DA numbers were overwritten with a pen over DA no. 49. It, therefore, asked either the finance department (B&MC) or planning department to clarify on the double DA.

According to the statement, people who called PDR were also concerned about the meagre utilisation of amount for UPSC candidates, while the bigger amount was spent for other purposes not earmarked. 

When the department was unable to utilise the bigger amount of the earmarked fund owing to very less amount of financial assistance provided to UPSC candidates, the government further increased the fund allocation from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh in 2017-18, it added. 

Similarly, in 2017-18 too, only Rs 2,75,000 was utilised and the remaining Rs 22,25,000 was carried forward to the current financial year. 

And looking at the trend of utilisation of amount in the last two financial years (with Rs 4 lakh being hardly utilised each year), PDR suggested that the remaining balance of Rs 22 lakh (without further fund allocation) be utilised for another 4-5 years, provided the number of candidates given financial assistance remained between 10 and 15 and the amount fixed at Rs 25,000 per person.

However, since UPSC candidates in other States got financial assistance even to the tune of Rs 1 lakh per person, the group asked the government to consider increasing the amount of financial assistance to each candidate. 

PDR also referred to the August 22 response of the department that Rs 1 crore was allocated to it for works executed under evaluation department of finance department to reduce procedural delays and avoid lapse of funds as the amount was released on the last days of the financial year 2017-18. It, however, added that the clarification clearly reflected that the evaluation department was incapable of honouring DAs issued by the finance department during final days of the financial year. 

And, if the trend continued, the group said it saw no reason why separate demand number should continue to be allocated to the evaluation department as it had exhibited its inability to honour a simple DA. 

PDR wondered, if the planning department could withdraw amounts even during the fag end of the financial year, then what made it impossible for the evaluation department to carry out its normal duty of drawing money from the government treasury. 

 

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