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CS pulls up SED over poor utilisation of funds, delayed completion of works

Chairs review meeting for 2 days Department directed to speed up completion of works
12:57 AM Apr 29, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
cs pulls up sed over poor utilisation  of funds  delayed completion of works
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Srinagar, Apr 28:  In a recent development, Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo pulled up the School Education Department (SED) over poor utilisation of funds received from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and issued strict directions to speed up the completion of the projects.

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The directions were issued during a review meeting chaired by the chief secretary last week.

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An official who is privy to the development said that the chief secretary expressed his displeasure over the unspent funds in the SED which were allocated by the MoE during the previous years.

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The official said that the chief secretary while chairing a rigorous two-day review meeting of the SED expressed his dissatisfaction for not utilising the funds effectively.

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The official said that the funds which were allocated by the MoE under various components of Samagra Shiksha including recurring and non-recurring grants had remained unutilised by the schools to State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT).

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“During the meeting, the chief secretary asked the department to expedite completion of pending projects and ensure timely completion of all other initiatives as well,” the official said.

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During the meeting, it was revealed that the SED had surrendered an interest amount worth Rs 100 crore, which had accumulated on funds sanctioned by the Government of India (GoI) over the past few years.

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“Following the release of funds from the Ministry of Education, these funds remained largely unutilised within J&K across various sectors, leading to the surrender of a substantial interest amount to the MoE,” the official said.

During the meeting, the chief secretary directed all the concerned officers to prioritise project completion and streamline fund utilisation processes as well.

“It was probably for the first time that a review meeting of the department continued for two days. One day one, the meeting was held for over three hours,” the official said.

He said that the chief secretary emphasised the importance of timely project completion and efficient fund utilisation within the Education Department.

“The chief secretary directed the officers of the SED to ensure funds are utilised properly and that otherwise, the GoI will stop releasing funds to SED owing to the unspent funds during the previous years,” the official said.

The review meeting was taken at a time when the MoE during its annual Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting also raised concern over the delay in completion of the projects and the utilisation of funds.

“The balances under the Elementary Education, Secondary Education (SE) and Teacher Education (TE) head needs to be looked into for J&K. The purpose is to work out avenues for spending more, especially under the SE and TE component," read the minutes of the PAB meeting released by MoE.

“A mid-term review will be held under Samagra Shiksha to assess not only the intervention-wise progress but also the requirement of supplementary funds,” the document reads.

The MoE has also pointed out the pendency in infrastructure facilities (since inception) in J&K and asked J&K to come up with a concrete plan of action for completing the “not started works” within the time frame or for surrendering the not started work.

“Further, J&K was asked to ensure that the in-progress work is completed on priority in this financial year,” the document reads.

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