Ministry of Panchayati Raj convened a one day Consultation meeting with States to discuss online audits and release procedure under 15th Finance Commission to Panchayati Raj Institutions, on 10th March 2023, at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Shri Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in presence of Ms. Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Shri Subir Mallick, Additional Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General (Local Bodies). Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary and Shri Alok Prem Nagar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj also participated in the meeting. Senior Officers from State Panchayati Raj Departments along with representatives from Directorate of Local Fund and Audit from over 20 States participated in the meeting.
In his keynote address Shri Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj appreciated the efforts of States on promoting accountability and transparency in PRIs through Audit online and noted exemplary efforts of States such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Shri Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj suggested the States to identify the operational deficiencies in fiscal devolution at the grassroots and stressed that greater focus must be laid on audit para, audit observations and action taken report.
While making the opening remarks, Smt. Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation emphasized on water security, adequate O&M of assets and sanitation in villages. Secretary, DDWS recognized that the convergence of XV FC grants, Jal Jeevan Mission and State Finance Commission grants presents a unique opportunity for PRIs to ensure water security and Sanitation in villages.
Shri Subir Mallick, Additional Deputy CAG, noted that mechanisms such as eGramSwasraj, Audit Online, and eGSPI, have evolved as enablers for effective auditing in Panchayati Raj Institutions. Action taken report (ATR) are critical for monitoring the progress on Audit observations raised and necessary for upholding accountability at PRI level. Additional Deputy CAG underlined that there is a need for strengthening the monitoring mechanisms at the District level and Gram Sabha level to ensure redressal of audit observations and bridging accountability gaps at the grassroots level.
Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, emphasized the States to leverage this platform for suggestions and concerns on online audits of Panchayats and disbursement of Finance Commission Grants.
A brief presentation was also made by Shri Alok Prem Nagar, Joint Secretary, MoPR highlighting operational guidelines for release for XV FC and also showed the progress of states on eGramSwaraj and Audit Online. Suggestions for any modifications in existing Grant Transfer Certificates were also sought from States. States have also been suggested to develop a strategy for 100% onboarding on eGramSwaraj and Audit Online.
States including Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, actively participated in the meeting and made valuable suggestions on promoting accountability & transparency in utilization of FC grants as well as their strategy for onboarding of PRIs on eGramSwaraj & Audit Online.
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