As all the payments will have to roll through the server, one can see and monitor the monthly receipts and expenditure of every hostel sitting in district or State headquarters.
The Social Welfare Department is all set to bring in checks and balances and total transparency through online processing of bills to eliminate misappropriation of funds released to the hostels.
Inflated number of hostel students and staff, false claims to garner higher amounts under various heads from diet charges, cosmetics and salary payments to rentals on hired accommodation are some of the many ways the welfare funds are pilfered.
But once the ‘Hostel Management software package’ is implemented in the hostels in all districts, the data related to strength of students and staff in each hostel, the diet charges, utilisation of provisions, cosmetics released to students, salaries paid to the staff and hostel maintenance charges including power and water bills, has to be uploaded into the system, explained an official.
The department will implement the pilot project for online processing and payment of bills in Visakhapatnam district and plans to extend it to all the districts by the next financial year.
There are about 90 to 100 Social welfare hostels in each district and the payments to be made under various heads will be released online to the bank accounts of payees respectively. Be it salaries of staff, bill to be paid to the Civil Supplies Corporation or local stores or wages of tutors and outsourced employees.
In most of the districts, the data related to number of hostel inmates, staff including their biometric proof, was already fed into system with no access to make changes once the stipulated registration period is over.
“This measure will not allow anyone to show inflated strength and draw higher allowances under the fictitious names,” officials said.
The proposed online payment system will further tighten the process. As all the payments will have to roll through the server, one can see and monitor the monthly receipts and expenditure of every hostel sitting in district or State headquarters.
After the department made it mandatory for furnishing the names of hostel inmates along with their biometric data for verification and monitoring of their attendance, the number of students in the SW hostels decreased from 2.67 lakh in 2010-11 to 1.87 lakh in 2012-13.
The elimination of fake entries and duplication resulted in savings of Rs.4 crore a month to the department, they disclosed. The Management Information System will help in improving efficiency as it will reflect vacancies, material shortage or poor attendance. Of 2,346 hostels in the State, only 1,814 hostels have wardens.