State Institute of Education incurs expenditure on the examination that was never held

Jibran Nazir

Srinagar

Two employees in Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) have been suspended and permission to initiate disciplinary action against an ex-official has been sought over alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.

In its order no 1685DSEK-2016, dated: 2-12-2016, Director of School education has suspended Fayaz Ahamad, lecturer in statistics posted at GHSS Budgam and Hilal Ahmad posted at State Institute of Education, Srinagar. While as, strict disciplinary action has been sought against Javid Ahamad Ex-Principal, SIE Srinagar. The trio has been accused of misappropriation of funds.

In 2014, State Institute of Education Kashmir (SIEK) had incurred a total expenditure of Rs 19,47,558 for holding eighth standard Term-2 annual examination, as mentioned in official records. The exams were never held due to massive deluge.

A KL file Image of Kashmir floods 2014.
A KL file Image of Kashmir floods 2014.

When the matter surfaced, DSEK had set up an enquiry committee to investigate into the misuse of funds during September 2014 floods. A three member committee was set up to look into the irregularities. The members included Principal SIE Srinagar, Chief accounts officer DSEK and Chief Education Officer Ganderbal.

Sources revealed that Fayaz Ahmad, who is now under suspension, was earlier transferred from SIE Srinagar following complaints of misappropriation of funds.

However, “his transfer order was modified from DSEK and he was relocated to Girls Higher Secondary School, Amira Kadal against vacant post of a stenographer.”  “The statistics teacher post in the BHSS Ichgam stood vacant.”

The documents accessed by Kashmir Life explain income and expenditure of ‘printing charges of Class 8th for the session 2014. “The SIE received total Rs 18,62,635 @ Rs 20 per student and the expenditure incurred is Rs 19,47,558,” reads official document made available by in-charge examination of SIC.

The documents further reveal that SIE has spent an extra amount of Rs 82, 923 on an examination that never happened. “93,164 students applied for the exams and total amount collected was Rs 93,92,100, and funds to the tune of Rs 18,62,635 were transferred to SIEK, from the collected money,” it reads further.

It is pertinent to mention that the education department had ordered an audit into the functioning of SIE Srinagar in July 2016, which revealed gross ‘shortcomings and irregularities’.

With regards to the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a centrally sponsored scheme, the report underlines that interest to the tune of Rs 4.28 lakh has not been transferred to the SSA account after July 31, 2007.

“The reason for not transferring the interest earned to the concerned authority may kindly be furnished to audit team,” reads the document.

The audit report says that details of Rs 44.60 lakh transferred in favour of 12 District Institute of Education Training of the Kashmir under SSA were not made available to the audit on spot. “The same may be obtained from the concerned and shown to next audit,” the audit report says.

Surprisingly, the audit reveals that neither any ‘administrative inspection’ nor any ‘internal audit’ has ever been conducted from last nine years since 2008 in SIE. While physical verification of store and stock is required to be conducted annually, it has not been conducted, the report says, ‘since inception of the office’.

Para 4 of the audit report says that the provisions under Jammu and Kashmir Financial Code have been flouted and purchases to the tune of Rs 19.95 lakh have been made by SIE.

The audit report further states that irregular payment on account of leave encashment of Rs 1.38 lakh has been made and the auditor has asked ‘recovery may be affected from the concerned and inform the audit accordingly’.

Moreover irregular payment of wages out of middle examination funds of Rs 4.26 lakh too has been found, with a note saying, “the expenditure may be regularised by obtaining sanctions of the competent authority”.

As far as flouting of the norms is concerned, electricity charges to the tune of Rs 42.04 lakh been paid on flat rate, which goes against the government instructions that the payment of electric charges be made as per reading shown by the energy metre in the office premises.

The irregularity, in this regard on the part of SIE, has led to creation of a liability of Rs 9.46 lakh.

“As per provisions, no expenditure is to be incurred unless funds for same were released. Contrary to this, a test check of the record revealed that liability of Rs 9.46 lakh had been created during the year 2013-14 over conducting of training programmes for teachers under Teacher Education Programme despite sufficient funds surrendered during the year 2013-14,” the report states.

Adding to it, state government had ordered to maintain the records again that were damaged in the September floods of 2014. But SIE has till date not maintained the records.

“Regarding all these irregularities and violation of norms, a committee has been set up and working on it. The involvement of three persons has been ascertained so far and appropriate action has been taken against them. We will further look into it and deal with those involved accordingly,” says Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Director School Education Kashmir.

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