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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019

Bihar auditors recruitment 2019: State set to appoint government auditors for local rural bodies

The process for recruiting the auditors will be finalised in the next few months.  “We expect the recruitments will be complete by July. The department will send the recommendation for recruitments to the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC)  in coming days.

education Updated: Feb 08, 2019 11:13 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
The department will send the recommendation for recruitments to the Bihar Public Service Commission  in coming days
The department will send the recommendation for recruitments to the Bihar Public Service Commission  in coming days (HT File)

The Bihar government is set to appoint 589 auditors under the newly set up Bihar Panchayat Audit Service Cadre, which is aimed at injecting more accountability into Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and checking corruption in local rural bodies while spending public money for welfare schemes.

The process for recruiting the auditors will be finalised in the next few months.  “We expect the recruitments will be complete by July. The department will send the recommendation for recruitments to the Bihar Public Service Commission  in coming days,” said Amrit Lal Meena, principal secretary, Panchayati Raj department.

The idea of recruiting auditors was mooted by the department last year after it felt that the practice of hiring private chartered accountants to audit accounts of PRIs was not comprehensive and exhaustive, leaving room for financial discrepancies and embezzlement. A committee formed to find ways of strengthening PRIs, headed by retired IAS officer A N P Sinha, had also made a recommendation for creating a separate cadre of auditors to check finances of PRIs.

The other factor that prompted the department to have its own set of auditors is the pendency of utilisation certificates (UCS), the document sent to the central government after utilization of funds granted to PRIs for implementing various schemes . Sources said the panchayati raj department has a pendency of UCs worth Rs 11,000 crore as on date since fiscal years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“The pending UCs were worth Rs 20,000 crore till a few months back, which has come down to Rs 11,000 crore. We are trying to fast-track the process of sending UC so that there is no problem in release of instalments of central funds,” said a senior officer in the department, wishing not to be quoted.

Due to focus on local self-governance by both the centre and state government, PRIs have started getting huge cash flow in terms of devolutions from the finance commission’s and state finance commission’s recommendations.

Each gram panchayat gets around Rs 1 crore on annual basis as funds for various schemes, including under Mukhaymatri Nischai Yojana, which was added two years back.

In Bihar, there are 8,386 gram panchayats ( bottom level of PRI), 546 panchayat samiti (middle-tier PRI) and 38 district boards ( apex body of PRI), along with 1.14 lakh wards in municipal areas.

In recent years, corruption in PRIs have become more rampant, with large number of Mukhiyas (head of gram panchayat) facing accusations of embezzlement of public money meant for welfare schemes.

“Till now, there was no regular checking of accounts of PRIs their number is big. Now, once we have the auditors, it will happen regularly, and there will be quality checking of all accounts,” said Meena.

“Each auditor would be responsible for at least 25 gram panchayats and audit would be conducted of all PRIs once in a year,” he said.

 

The fine print 

589 auditors under the newly set up Bihar Panchayat Audit Service Cadre

Till now, Panchayati Raj dept hired private chartered accountants to audit the PRIs

Move aimed at reducing corruption, cutting down pendency of utlisation certificates

Each auditor would audit at least 25 gram panchayats, once a year

8,386 gram panchayats (bottom level of PRI) in Bihar

546 panchayat samitis (middle-tier PRI)

38 district boards (apex body of PRI)

1.14 lakh wards in municipal areas

 

 

First Published: Feb 08, 2019 11:13 IST

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