State asked to make expenditure data entries within a month
Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has released this year’s outlay under the job guarantee scheme to Jammu and Kashmir with an ultimatum: expenditure data entries will have to be made and submitted with utilisation certificates within a month. Authoritative sources said the Centre on Friday released Rs. 264.15 crore for implementation of works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act during 2013-14. Even as Rs. 119.78 crore remained unspent by the State on March 31, 2013, and the Centre released Rs. 64 crore subsequently, the funds for the current fiscal were frozen for want of utilisation certificates.
In a communication to the Commissioner-Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Development Department, Joint Secretary in the Rural Development Ministry D.K. Jain has made it clear that the backlog expenditure data entries will have to be made “within the next 30 days” and that no utilisation certificates from the State are pending with the Centre.
Now that Rs. 448 crore is available now, 533.12 lakh persondays of employment shall have to be generated in the State this year.
Apparently not satisfied with the bureaucratic procedure alone, Mr. Ramesh set the ultimatum Friday itself, asking Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to ensure that the backlog data entries are made within 30 days.
Mr. Ramesh’s letter to Mr. Abdullah, accessed by The Hindu, says: “…I must bring it to your personal attention that a basic requirement of MGNREGA has to be fulfilled by the State. This relates to the entering of data pertaining to expenditure and the muster details for 2012-13 in NREGASoft, the MIS software that is used to enhance transparency and accountability. So far, only 87% of the expenditure details have been entered into NREGASoft. However, considering the special requirements of J&K, we have decided to release the full amount to meet the requirements of the State up to September, 2013 on the condition that the backlog data entry is completed in the next 30 days.”