Centre mulls deducting unspent SSA funds
Project Director Refuses To Comment On The Issue
Srinagar, Aug 3: In another embarrassing move for Jammu and Kashmir Government, Centre is mulling to deduct funds allocated to the state in education sector to recover the unspent amount lying with it over the past decade. The move comes in the backdrop of failure of the state government to return the unspent balance, despite repeated reminders by the Centre.
The documents lying with Greater Kashmir reveal that the Centre has decided to explore the option of deducting funds to realize the unspent portion released to state during 2002-03 for undertaking pre-project activities for implementation of centrally sponsored flagship program - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
“The question of refund of funds sanctioned in 2002-03 for pre-project activities was discussed. State Project Director, Jammu and Kashmir was advised to send utilization certificate to enable us to settle accounts. SPD J&K expressed her inability to do so as the funds were given to the state government and State Implementation Society, J&K. Thereupon, it was decided to explore the option of deduction of amount payable to SSA, J&K from Government of India releases in future,” reveal the minutes of the meeting of Project Approval Board (PAB) for JK.
According to the documents, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) had repeatedly raised the issue of return of funds with successive Commissioner Secretaries of School Education Department and State Project Directors of SSA, since 2005.
During PAB meeting of 2011, sources said, state government was told to refund the unspent funds by June 30 of that year. “SPD told the participants of the meet that she had requested administrative department, school education department, to raise the issue of return of non-utilized funds (surrendered by districts) with Finance Department,” sources said.
In 2010, State Government was asked to refund unspent balances of the SSA by May 31 and later it returned Rs 5 lakh but funds surrendered by districts are untraceable.
While Ministry of Human Resources Development told this newspaper to approach the State Government over the whereabouts and total unspent balances, Jammu and Kashmir, however maintained silence over the issue – indicating there is something fishy.
“You should approach State Project Director and State Government over the matter,” Director, MHRD, Maninder Kour Diwedi told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi.
However, SPD J&K, SSA, Yasha Mudgal refused to speak on the matter.
“I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the government,” she told over phone.
Commissioner Secretary, School Education, Farooq Ahmad Faktoo dropped the phone when this reporter asked him about the Centre’s proposed move.
Reportedly, Centre had provided crores of rupees to the state for undertaking pre-project activities under SSA in 2002-2003. But like other central schemes, J&K failed to utilize SSA funds properly particularly at the district level.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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