by N.J. Nair
The annual income and expenditure statements submitted after the time limit are often found to be inconsistent and erroneous. The annual statements are being prepared without completing the entries in the cash book as well as income and expenditure registers. Such lapses have virtually made auditing of accounts virtually impossible, the report says.
Once the officials responsible for expending funds either get transferred or retire from service, their successors decline to act on the grounds that the expenditure in question has not been made during their tenure. The tendency to escape the onus and the diffidence are affecting the review process. Directions issued by the government to overcome such situations have not yet been implemented at the grassroots level.
The administrative committees comprising elected representatives tend to shy away from the responsibility of discussing the contents of the audit reports. The action taken reports are not being discussed at the grama and ward sabhas. Such steps have become impossible since majority of the local bodies do not organise grama sabhas and fabricate documents to show that such meetings have been held. There is no mechanism to reply to the queries raised by the auditors. As per the auditing rules, charge and surcharge notices should be issued to the officials responsible for incurring loss. Those wielding authority have been empowered to take legal action against those officials who refuse to respond to the notices. Most of the local bodies do not take follow-up action to realise the loss or take legal steps against the officials responsible for the lapses and the loss will not be recovered.