The Gram Panchayats were maintaining accounts, as in all other districts, following.single entry system of accounting. Since the account were maintained manually often the accounts were not written up date. Because of the single entry system of accounting it was not possible to correctly capture, retrieve and analyse the accounting information for effective monitoring, the authenticity of prepared accounts was always questionable and as obvious fall out, the required details and information were not available in time and correctly. The funding agencies, Central and State Govt. desires timely submission of not only the utilisation details but also other information regarding receipts, utilization, unspent balance, physical progress under the various scheme.The system don’t provide for maintaining the separate account for each scheme thus the requirement of funding agencies could not be complied with in time.
In spite of best possible efforts through motivation and capacity building there was not any significant improvement in the system and the problem was further worsen due to non availability of good accountants at village level. There was thus an urgent need for conceptualising designing and development of a dedicated software answering the needs of panchayat accounting. The available software in the market including PNACHLEKHA, specially prepared for panchyat by NIC, did not and could not have provided the solution to specific requirement of accounting at GP level and thus have to put on shelves. Considering the small size of accounting unit the requirement was to develop a system which is simple user friendly and not only prepare the accounts of each funding agencies, monitoring different schemes but also helps in reconciliation of bank accounts and preparation of the UCs, the compilation and submission of which was much delayed and in the process the release of grants were also delayed, hampering the progress of development schemes and works undertaken by the panchayats. The C&AG has time and again emphasised the need for maintenance of scheme based accounts on double entry systems.
In the backdrop of this in District Sagar by endeavour of Collector shri H.L. Trivedi and CEO Zila Panchayat a gigantic task of computerisation of panchayat accounts have been taken up during last year with an intent to keep the scheme based accounts on double entry system .
System Prior To Use Of Software
(1) Generally at all the Gram Panchayats a single cash book was maintained or at some places half hearted attempt were made to prepare the accounts using available software which could not generate the required accounts and information in acceptable and desired form.
(2) The single cash book could prepare only a consolidated accounts in respect of all the receipt and payments made by the panchayat since the accounts were kept on single entry basis, preparation of scheme wise accounts and certification of receipts, utilization and unspent balance under each scheme, separately was not possible or otherwise extremely difficult.
(3) The preparation of monthly expenditure report was extremely difficult because of the fact that the accounts were not written up to date and even if they timely and correctly written the preparation of the reporting information like Utilisation Certificate( UC) and Monthly Expenditure Report (MER) etc was manually done which was not only time consuming but also there was no check to ensure the authenticity thereof . Often the UCs and MER which are required to be sent on periodic basis were prepared on an estimated basis and not based on the actual exp.
(4) Since no separate bank account was kept in the books the balances as reflected in the bank statement were taken to be granted as correct balance of the funds deposited with the banks. No reconciliation of bank account was being attempted as consequence of which the incorrect debits to the accounts or otherwise any fraudulent transaction remained undetected. The non reconciliation of bank accounts also could not ensure that all the deposit and payments (cash withdrawal) have actually been accounted for in the cash books.
(5) All the financial mentoring and supervision as well as interventions were based on the reported financial data the authenticity of which was questionable .
(6) The progress of the work and establishing financial and physical linkages was also not possible.
(7) Cap on head of expenditure laid down under various schemes were monitored on an estimated basis.
(1) To keep books of accounts on double entry system.
(2) To maintain a separate cash book and ledger for each scheme implemented by the panchayats.
(3) To capture and account for the incurred expenses in a uniform manner and under the sanctioned budget head for different schemes.
(4) To inculcate the practice of jotting the expenditure related to civil works along with their sanction numbers to monitor the deviation. Each works for which the approval and administrative sanction from GRAM SABHA is obtained a distinct number allocated for monitoring and control of each of such sanctioned work.
(5) To ensure timely and authentic submission of UCs and MER through a built in check and control system.
(6) To enable on line monitoring of availability of fund at Pancyat level as also the progress of work.
(7) To capture along with the accounting information the other important data wiz beneficiary type and category details etc.
(8) To expedite compilation and consolidation of the financial and physical data, based on the actual figures, for an early submission to controlling office.
Methodology Of Implementation
(1) Scheme fund based Physical and Financial Monitoring software â€œ YOJNAâ€ of M.P. State Electronic Development Corporation was identified, selected and installed at all the Janpad Offices.
(2) Considering the lack of requisite capacity at vllage level a separate agency was assigned the task of providing the initial hand holding support till the time the local accountants are trained and become confident to independently handled the account keeping requirements.
(3) Considering the small volume and cost constrain the actual accounting is being done at Janpad level . The Sachives (Secretary) of panchayat carries the record along with the manually maintained cash book (a parrelel accounting till the computerized accounting system is well establishes and Sachivs attain the required capacity to handle )
(4) At the Janpad level the resource agency not only prepares the accounts on the software but also simultaneously examins the prepared manual accounts for pointing out the mistakes and the deficiencies with a view to further build up the knowledge and skill of Sachivs.
(5) The verified, analysed and corrected accounting data is feeded in to the software and up to date accounts and UC and other reporting Data is available online .
(6) A bank reconciliation statement and a cash flow chart reflecting opening balance under different schemes receipts and utilization during the period and unspent balance thereof as on date is also prepared and available online.
(1) Accounts of 620 Gram Panchayats, All the 11 Blocks and Zila Panchayat have been computerized and SCHEME WISE BOOKS BASED ON DOUBLE ENTRY SYSTEM are now up to date.
(2) Head wise expenditure incurred under separate schemes and information regarding fund received, expended and unspent balance information is available online.
(3) Utilisation certificate are based on actual are available on line for effective monitoring.
(4) All the relevant data for the entire district in a uniform manner is available online and there is no need to separately compile and consolidate or synchronize the data of panchayats manually .
(5) Built in checks and controls and periodic reconciliation ensures the authenticity and correctness of the accounted transactions.
(6) Work wise information is available even MB valuation and completion certificate details in respect of all civil works are also available.
(7) Information related to physical progress are also available e.g in case of subsidy to number of beneficiaries. In next phase data of family survey is also being linked with the software to have more information on beneficiary.
(8) There is uniformity in accounting and reporting of data which is now authentic and therefore a meaningful comparison, analysis and also timely actions and interventions is possible.
(9) Because of online availability of information and up to date accounting an effective budgetary monitoring and control is possible.
(10) The timely and correct preparing of accounts has also helped in timely completion of audits which inordinately delayed in the past.
(11) Online accounting would go a long way in ensuring transparency in functioning of Panchayts and also greatly help in providing the different information otherwise sought under the RTI Act.