Views & Reviews
Centralisation of Financial Powers and Office Functioning System Under the Government of Nagaland: An Imperative Need for Review
I am privileged to have visited 11 Districts of Nagaland for imparting training on ‘Office Management and Accounts rules & procedures’ organised and sponsored by the A.T.I Kohima during 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
While interacting with the employees of the district offices, many of the district employees opined that there is no work in the district offices due to centralisation of financial powers and the centralisation in the office functioning system. Some even opined that some of the district offices are functioning merely for preparation and disbursement of monthly salary; and to attend monthly district planning and development board meetings. We notice that most of the district offices are functioning in the private residences of officers at Kohima and Dimapur.
It was also very surprising to notice that some or rather many of the LDAs and UDAs who have been serving for more than 10 years in the District Offices have never been given the opportunity to process even a single file. Some of them shared that they are equally qualified and capable to carry out their assigned duties but they are not given the opportunity or chance to perform their duties, therefore deprived of opportunity to learn and most importantly discharging their assigned duties.
Many of the employees at the district offices are ‘ghost’ employees drawing salaries at the comfort of their homes without any hassles in spite of not discharging even a day’s worth of work as the disbursement of salaries is done through a personal account payment system via account transfer.
It was also observed that most of the CPWD accounting system in the cheque-drawing departments have become badly distorted and confusing due to the introduction of the new financial management system and application of numerous austerity measures; such as limited time for validity of drawing authority, authentication of sanction orders formalities, etc. Also, empowering the directing department (directorate) to draw money and unduly withholding of development money is consequently affecting the timely completion of projects/works which is the root cause for the sub-standard quality of works.
The present budgetary system also affects the districts offices’ functioning system wherein the budget provision is provided to the implementing authorities, the DDOs, but they are not allowed to draw the money as per their allocation of budget which is a clear violation of the financial rules and procedures. It also makes a mockery of the delegation of powers in the government functions.
It is only pertinent that unless the present financial management system and budgetary system is reviewed, we cannot expect the district offices to function effectively.
Therefore, in the best interest of the public in general, it is an earnest suggestion to carefully review the financial management system according to the standing rules & procedures and for the convenience of the public and the public servants. If the government so desires and deems it fit to continue with the new system, the new rules and procedures should be made relevant and befitting to the new system. Otherwise, a new system with old rules is irrelevant and only creates more confusion and inconveniences to the public in general.
Retd. Senior Accounts Officer;
Former Financial Advisor (MGNREGA) &
Guest Faculty of A.T.I,