Uttar Pradesh’s chief audit officer for co-operative committees and panchayats has said the biggest impediment in auditing Panchayati Raj institutions was non-availability of records. In the annual report of the three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions – for the year 2011-12, which was tabled in the UP Legislative Assembly today, the chief audit officer stated that officials at the block-level and village panchayats displayed “consistent laxity” in presenting the records. “In the absence of any penal provisions, there is laxity even at the administration level.” “There are 811 kshetra panchayats in UP, but in the financial year 2011-12, audit of only 128 kshetra panchayats could be done, which stands merely at 15.78 per cent. This is despite the fact that there is a system for compulsory annual audit of kshetra panchayats,” the report said.
Though there is a provision of not releasing state and central government funds to the kshetra panchayats refusing audit and initiating action against the concerned block development officer but practically there is not a single example of the same anywhere in the state, it said. Similarly, there are 51,755 village panchayats, of which audit was conducted in 26,834 village panchayats. This stands at 51.85 per cent.
In this case too there is a similar provision for not releasing state and central government funds as well as action against the concerned village development official, but there has not been a single case where action was taken, the report said. In its recommendations, the reports said that to ensure the quality of audit work, all the village panchayats must follow the prescribed format.
If the records are not presented then action should be initiated against concerned block development officer (in case of kshetra panchayats) and village development officer (in case of village panchayats). The report also suggested a legislation – Lekhaa Parikshaa Adhiniyam (Audit Act), calling for imposing fine and punishment in the event of inability to present records before the auditor in a fixed timeframe.