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Centre cuts off funds for Assam local bodies

NON-SUBMISSION OF UCs

High level meet in Dispur directs Fince department to examine feasibility of engaging chartered accountants ‘to get to the bottom of pending UCs’

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 25: Due to non-submission of utilization certificates (UCs) relating to the use of Central funds for local bodies, the Assam government has been denied of more funds under this head by New Delhi.

The issue of non-submission of UCs and improper utilization of Central grants recently came to light in a meeting of the High Level Monitoring Committee (HLMC) here chaired by State Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia.

The 14th Fince Commission recommended total grant-in aid amounting to Rs 1,760.95 crore for panchayats and municipalities in Assam during 2015-16 and 2016-17, but the State government has failed to utilize the whole amount sanctioned by the Ministry of Fince.

According official records, the State government only raised Rs 338.97 crore out of the Rs 1,760.95 crore sanctioned by the Ministry of Fince which later refused to sanction the remaining amount of Rs 1,421.98 crore due to non-submission of UCs and compliance report as per conditions laid down by the Fince Commission.

Overall, the 14th Fince Commission recommended total grant-in-aid amounting to Rs 6,387.11 crore for the State’s local bodies for the period 2015-20. The Commission has recommended the grant to the duly constituted panchayats and municipalities in two parts – general basic grant and general performance grant. In 2015-16, general basic grant of Rs 677.94 crore and in 2016-17, general performance grant of Rs 1,083.01 crore have been sanctioned by the Ministry concerned for the State’s local bodies.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Urban Development, vide letter no. N-11025/63/2015/LSG-1, dated 26/12/2016, requested the Assam government to submit scheme/claim for release of the general performance grant for 2016-17 under the 14th Fince Commission.

The present BJP-led government at Dispur should look into this issue seriously and take necessary steps as soon as possible. The meeting chaired by the State Chief Secretary ended with a renewed call to concerned departments to make all-out efforts to fulfill Fince Commission conditiolities, monitor local bodies and ensure compliance reports, prepare uniform software to obtain UCs, and that the Fince department in particular should examine the feasibility of engaging a team of chartered accountants ‘to get to the bottom of pending UCs’.