Bihar finance dept sounds alert against attempts of irregular fund withdrawal
- The finance department has written to the top brass of various departments, offices and administration to ensure strict compliance to the finance and treasury rules for maintaining fiscal discipline.
Following the detection of a couple of instances during system audit when some individual officers opened bank accounts in their names and were trying to transfer government money in them, the Bihar government’s finance department has sounded an alert for all the departments to be watchful against such practice.
The finance department has written to the top brass of various departments, offices and administration to ensure strict compliance to the finance and treasury rules for maintaining fiscal discipline. It has also directed all the departments and offices to ensure submission of bills to the treasury for this fiscal latest by March 25 to prevent the old practice of delayed submission.
“It has been observed that the departments/offices withdraw funds from required head/ PL account through bills submitted to concerned treasury and later it is transferred to bank accounts opened in the name of official designations or individual officials. This is not in accordance with the laid down rules and it could lead to irregular withdrawals,” said a letter from principal secretary, finance, S Siddharth.
The letter has been addressed to all the additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries, department heads, divisional commissioners, district magistrates, treasury officials and all drawing and disbursing officials.
Siddhharth said that the instance of an assistant director opening a bank account in his name and the concerned department trying to divert money there had been detected during system audit. It is not allowed and rules are clearly laid down in this regard. No money can be transferred in personal account,” he added
The finance department has categorically written that as per rules, the withdrawal from treasury has to be done only up to the extent required for direct payment to vendor/contractor/payee in their respective bank accounts and under no circumstances it the money should go the bank accounts of subordinate officials or individual.
“Under no circumstances, no advance withdrawal of funds has to be done for transferring the amount in bank accounts. Even for opening bank accounts and transfer of government money, there are clear guidelines from the finance department,” says the letter, adding it was important to review all the claims for withdrawal by different departments/offices in the light of financial provisions at the level of departments/offices.
The finance department has also cited rules 34, 176 and 177 of the Bihar Treasury Code, 2011 in this regard and the guidelines issued from time to time. The rule 34 states that “a drawing officer shall not, except with special permission of the finance department, deposit in a bank account money withdrawn from the government account “.
Rule 176 states that “all charges incurred must be drawn and paid at once and no money should be withdrawn from the treasury unless it is required for immediate payment”, while rule 177 states that “no money shall be drawn from the treasury in anticipation of demands or to prevent lapse of budget grants”.
The finance department principal secretary has also written to the departments to ensure that money spent till March 31, 2021 is under prescribed heads in accordance with the provisions of the Bihar Appropriation Act, 2021, which has been notified in the gazette following gubernatorial nod. “If any sub-head is created, it must have prior nod of the Accountant General,” he added in another letter.
Siddharth said that with the online system in place, the departments no bills would be accepted after March 25 and the departments have been asked to ensure it. “There is no reason for submitting bills after March 25,” he added.