2012 – Report on Panchayati Raj Institutions, Government of West Bengal

short release of Rs.1,544.51 crore to PRIs against the provision made in the budget by P&RDD during 2007-12 except during 2009-10 and shortfall was ranged from seven to 28 per cent of budget allocation. Expenditure under Plan and Non-Plan head during 2011-12 was increased by 32 and 48 per cent respectively in comparison to 2010-11.

Total receipts and expenditure under schematic fund were increased by 126 per cent and 161 per cent respectively during 2011-12 in comparison to 2007-08. Pris expended 40 to 63 per cent towards poverty alleviation programmes. Own Source Revenue (OSR) constituted only one to four per cent of total receipts of PRIs during 2007-11. Out of grants received during 2010-12 under the recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission, PRIs spent Rs.4.02 crore towards safe drinking water which was only 12 per cent of the earmarked fund (Rs.33.51 crore). No amount has been spent from Special Area Basic Grants of Rs.2.40 crore. Further, Rs.41.08 crore was earmarked for maintenance of road constructed under PMGS Y/RIDF and placed at ZP level from the first instalment. But no fund was utilised from the allocation during 2011-12. No fund was earmarked and released for the maintenance of the existing e-governance system.

During 2009-12 State Government released only Rs.790.77 crore against Rs.2051.24 crore recommended for 2009-12. Moreover, instead of a progressive increase of allocation, the release was decreased during 2011-12. An audit of 17 ZPs, one MP, 142 PSs and 3215 GPs showed that PRIs did not adhere to general precepts of financial management and Rules framed for proper accounting procedure. Non-compliance of the rules resulted in non-preparation of budget estimates, appropriation of revenues, balances were not the reconciliation of balances, poor collection of revenue, diversion of funds, misappropriation of funds, accumulation of lapsed cheques and huge unadjusted advances. Such financial irregularities are detailed. Forty-six PRIs spent Rs.158.31 crore without preparing any budget estimate during 2007-11 and 479 PRIs expended Rs.157.14 crore in excess of budget provision during 2008-11. During 2010-11, 70 GPs directly spent Rs.0.13 crore towards miscellaneous payments out of the revenues collected from time to time before depositing those revenues into their respective GP fund accounts. Ninety-eight PRIs did not reconcile the difference of Rs.23.74 crore between Cash Book and Pass Book balances of Banks and Treasuries as of 31 March 2011.

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