GUWAHATI, March 13 - One of the biggest delays in the budget execution is due to the physical movement of files across departments for seeking administrative approval and financial sanction. This was the admission of Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in his budget speech in the State Assembly.
To do away with the problem, Sarma announced that from April 1 this year, an online facility for heads of departments to submit, process and issue necessary approvals and sanctions online.
The government has announced a series of measures to bring in financial discipline and the minister said the “turnaround time” for receiving the payments online from the treasury has been reduced to less than an hour through the e-Kuber platform of the RBI. This application has already been implemented in 35 treasuries in the State and efforts would be made to cover all the treasuries at the earliest.
Giving details of the host of other measures implemented and planned to expedite the process of release of funds, Sarma said that the finance department has automated the processing and approval of ceilings. The moment the ceiling is approved by the finance department, copies are available for downloading directly at the level of the drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) and SMS alerts are sent. As a result of this, more than 40 layers of bureaucratic tables have been removed in one go.
Sarma admitted that any new government employee was facing a tough time in getting his or her first salary released and to do away with the problem, some new measures have been initiated. He said the government has introduced complete automation of the preparation, processing and release of first salary for new employees.
As part of the initiative, the government also took a decision to release three months’ provisional salary to all new employees in anticipation of the verification and approval by the finance department. The system of pay bills has also been automated which also helped in preparing a comprehensive data base of the employees.
The finance department has now started a pilot project for online preparation and submission of all other treasury bills by the DDOs. This will be rolled out across all treasuries this year and the government hopes that it will reduce manual errors and the time taken for processing the payments. Moreover, for improving transparency in the government procurement, the government is already using the e-procurement portal for procurement of goods, works and services that has been further strengthened with the introduction of the GeM (government e-marketplace).