Srinagar: In a significant development, the administration of Jammu and Kashmir has framed the draft guidelines for incurring expenditure out of Own Source Resources (OSR) of Panchayats in the Union Territory.
The department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has put the draft guidelines in public domain and sought comments/inputs from different stakeholders over them by March 31, 2022.
As per draft guidelines, a copy of which is in possession of The Precious Kashmir, every panchayat shall maintain a separate account for each scheme under which funds are transferred to it e.g. 14th Finance Commission, 15th FC, Mid-Day Meal scheme, Jal Shakti etc. and also maintain separate books of accounts including cash book for each scheme under double entry system of accounts.
The guidelines state that the Own Source Revenue account shall be different from all other accounts and its books of accounts shall be maintained separately.
“The fund under Own Source Revenue shall be utilized as per a separate budget prepared and approved in ward sabhas and gram sabhas and priorities decided for the same. The procedure for calling a meeting of ward sarpanches/gram sabhas shall be as prescribed under the Act/Rules within a minimum quorum of 1/10 of total members. The annual budget shall be prepared in accordance with provisions of section 21 of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act-1989 and chapter VI of The J&K Panchayati Rule-1996,” the guidelines further state.
According to the draft guidelines, the annual budget from OSR shall also form a part of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan.
The guidelines prohibit Panchayats from utilizing OSR funds for donation, charity and social assistance.
The guidelines empower the government to notify priority areas for expenditure from OSR from time to time.
As per these guidelines, the Panchayats shall exercise all financial prudence and follow general financial rules (GFR) while spending OSR fund.
“Private assets shall not be repaired/ constructed by Panchayat funds, under any circumstances,” the guidelines state.
As per the draft framework, the Panchayats have been directed to maintain a complete file of every work taken up from OSR including pre, during and post execution photographs, and shall follow all guidelines prescribed by the government from time to time.
The Rural Engineering Wing shall assist Panchayats in preparing estimates for tendering activities and preparing bills for the activities under OSR, the guidelines state.