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Op-Ed

Analysis of Nagaland Public Works Accounts (Npwa) Rules 2012

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2013 1:27 am
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SHIVITO WOTSA

I have been in the Accounts profession for more than 30 (thirty) years especially in Works Accounts and has even been rendering my service as a Guest faculty on the subject matter in Administrative Training Institute, for the past 10 (ten) years, therefore, it is duty bound on my part to share my concerns and also point out some inaccuracies/defects in the NPWA Rules 2012.

On perusal of the said NPWA Rules 2012, the following defects are noticed:
1. Inspite of the fact that the Divisional Accountant/Divisional Accounts Officer is the only competent and authorized person to compile Monthly Accounts which is also known as Works Accounts .The Elements of Monthly Accounts, method of compilation and its submission to Accountant General are the Fundamental Principle of Public Works Accounts Rules/Code. But all these aspects of the Rules are excluded in new NPWA Rules 2012.
2. The main features of the system of Public works Accounts are:-
i. The Divisional Officer/E.E’s duties and responsibilities. (CPWA Code Para 3.2.1 and Para 3.2.2 NPWA CODE 1970 Para 101 to 124)
ii. His relations with Accountant General (Para 4.1.1 and 4.1.2)
3.
i. The Divisional Accountant/Divisional Accounts Officer’s duties and functions in relation to Divisional and Sub Divisional Accounts and Returns.
ii. His relations with Accountant General (CPWA Code Para 4.2.2(a) 4.2.3,4.2.4,4.2.5,4.2.6 and 4.2.7 and NPWA Code 125 to 127) But the above mentioned main features of the system of Public works Accounts or General outlines of system of Accounts are excluded in the NPWA Rules 2012.
4. Architect:- Architect Engineer and Structural Engineer and their role in planning and designing of the building are the integral part of the Public works Accounts and Manual. But these are excluded.
5. W/c establishment:- Pubic works Department cannot run/ function without w/c establishment which are not included in New Rules.
6. Classification of Operations or description of works and expenditure primarily forms the works Accounts which are excluded in New Rules.
7. Technical:- Measurement Book (MB) and the method of its maintenance and procedure of Test checking of MB is the most important Technical documents and Technical Rules but these are not included in the New Rules.
8. Books of Accounts:-
Works Abstract, Works Register, Contractors Ledgers, Forms of Bills and vouchers etc are vital documents in Public Works Accounts which are not included in New Rules.
9. MPWA:- MPWA is wrongly defined as Maintenance Public Works Advances whereas, as per CPWA Code under Para 13.4 MPWA means ‘Miscellaneous Public Works Advances’
10. Issue Rate: – Issue Rate is inappropriately defined. The appropriate definition should be as per the CPWA Code under Para 5.2.1, this term denotes the cost per unit fixed in respect of an article borne on the stock of the Department at a valuation, for the purpose of calculating the amount creditable to the Sub –head concerned. The Rate is determined by adding a suitable percentage based on the carriage and other incidental charges, for example, 3% for handling and storage charges and 2 % for Transportation charges. Hence, a minimum 5% of the purchase rate is added and thereby fixed the Issue Rate.
11. Deposit Works: – Inadequately defined in New Rules. As per CPWA Code under Para 3.1, the term ‘Deposit Works’ is applied to works of construction or repairs and maintenance, the cost of which is met out of Government grants to autonomous or semi autonomous bodies or institutions through their Administrative Ministries, or is financed from non Government sources wholly or partly from Fund of Public nature, but not included in the financial estimates and accounts of the Union/ States.
Present system prevailing in our State, even the Government Department where no Engineering wing is attached, all construction works for such Department are taken up by Public Works Department through Deposit works.
12. Since the New Rules has been framed and enacted, the following Orders/Notification of the Government should have been incorporated in the New Rules:-
i. Revised Financial Power delegated to PWD Officer vide No.FIN/GEN/DF&CP-26/05 dt.27.6.2006.
ii. TDS: – New System of Tax deduction like Work Tax, Forest Royalty, VAT etc as per the Governments order/notification issued from time to time which is very much relevant for the New Rule.
13. Comparing NPWA Rules 2012 with CPWA CODE on the Procedural Code of the Central Audit, the CPWA CODE is relatively more systematic and far sighted on problematic issues that may arise during inspection.
In this regard, I would like to reproduce some of the important rules and procedures as per the CPWA Code especially in comparison with Para 2.a.7, 2.b.7 and 2.c.7 of NPWA Rules 2012 which should have been included /adopted in the NPWA Rules 2012, for the benefit of the readers especially who are concerned with this Rules.
Audit means Central Audit deputed by Accountant General for inspection to the Public Works Department specially Divisional Office/E.E’ s Office and Sub Divisional Office as mentioned under Para 2.C.7.
As per CPWA Code, the Accountant General/Principal Director of Audit sends intimation in advance about the specific date on which the inspection would commence to the concerned Division. On receipt of such intimation, the Executive Engineer should arrange to keep all the relevant records and documents ready for the inspection party. Important document like Service books, Contract agreements etc should be produced only after obtaining the written requisition and acknowledgement from the Inspecting Officer (All Divisional Officer/E.E’ s must be aware of this instructions)
The Inspecting Officer is authorized to inspect any books of accounts. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the E.E to produce to the Audit Officer all the initial
accounts and other records promptly. Where some of the records can not be produced owing to certain unavoidable circumstances the E.E should satisfy himself with the reasons of their non-production. He should make special efforts to produce those records that were not produced to the Audit at the time of previous inspection. In case the E.E is unable to produce some of the record, he should bring the fact to the notice of higher authorities for orders.
The results of the local Audit are Communicated through Inspection Report, which is drawn in 3 Parts as below:-
Part (i) (a) Introduction
(b) Outstanding objections from previous reports.
Part(ii) Contains two section A and B
(a) All important irregularities
(b) Irregularities though not major
Part(iii) It is a test Audit note containing minor irregularities which can be settled on the spot. Although the test Audit note has been termed as Part III of Inspection Report but not included in the Inspection Report.
Audit Inspection Reports should be promptly dealt with by the Divisional Officer/E.E at the initial stage so that the contingency of reporting of any point of Para to the PAC does not arise due to the neglect or delay in reply.
Procedures for disposal of the Inspection Reports.
Divisional Officer:-
The Inspecting Officer issues rough Audit notes to the Divisional Officer for verification of the factual accuracy of the objection taken by him during the course of inspection. These rough Audit notes should not be dealt with a casual manner. These should receive prompt attention and the replies thereto should be based on the personal knowledge of the E.E. The E.E should Endeavour to get these settled before the inspecting party leaves his division.
1. POS (Para of observation Statements) Discussion with Inspecting Officer:-
The draft Inspection Report is discussed with the E.E by the Inspecting Officer before submitting the same to the A.G to explain his view point, especially in the case of objection contained in Part II of the Report. The E.E should avail of this opportunity and should record his remarks against each Para in specific and unambiguous terms thereby either accepting or refuting the factual accuracy of the objections/ points that are raised by the Audit. This would help the Audit to appreciate the Divisional /Department’s point of view and may eventually be helpful in settling most of the objections in the initial stage itself. The remarks like “seen or would be looked into” etc. should not be used, as these defeat the very purpose of a discussion during the inspection, if certain important financial irregularities are noticed, which prima- facie would be considered in the Audit Office for being developed to the stage of draft Para for the Audit Report, the same should be taken up immediately by the Executive Engineer for thorough examination. A chronological history of such cases should be recorded in a separate register and the connected documents/ reports should be collected and kept in the custody of the E.E, so that such important cases are not lost sight of, and effective and prompt action is taken from time to time. At the time of his transfer, the E.E should mention the upto date position of all such cases in his charge report.
2. Settlement of outstanding objections:-
In the intimation memo about the inspection, the Inspecting Officer should mention that the E.E should keep ready the replies to the outstanding Paras in the pending Inspection Reports along with the relevant records for personal discussion.
3. Time limit for disposal:-
The Audit Notes are dealt with directly in the Divisional Office, and should be returned to the Audit Office within a month from the date of the receipt.
The Inspection Report (with one spare copy) is received from the Audit Office for reply and return (except first reply) through the Superintending Engineer. The replies to the original Inspection Report should reach the Audit Office within 8 weeks, and to the subsequent rejoinder within 4 weeks from the date of their receipt in the Divisional Office.

Procedure in Circle Office:-
The Audit Office sends an advance copy of the Inspection Report to the Superintending Engineer, with specific mention of important items concerning serious irregularities and lapses requiring special attention and prompt action. The Superintending Engineer should take necessary steps to obtain the final settlement of the items. Where required, he should himself take up the items of the report with the higher authorities. He should keep the AG/Principal Dir. of Audit fully informed in respect of cases regarding which reports have been sent to the Chief Engineer. While transmitting replies to the Audit on the original Inspection Reports as well as Rejoinders, the Superintending Engineer should examine the explanation offered against each para by the Executive Engineer and express his independent opinion. Where the para envisages completion of the Divisional/Sub-Divisional records and submission of certain documents/records to the Audit, the Superintending Engineer should ensure that the needful is done by the Executive Engineer with the least possible delay.

Conclusion:-
In my opinion, NPWA Rules 2012 defy everything about a rule book. When the basic principle of the rule is removed it becomes redundant.

The writer is a Accounts Officer, Power Department

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2013 1:27:17 am