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Skill push to project

The government has decided to recruit professionals to strengthen the social security programmes and expand the reach of the schemes.

As part of the Bihar Integrated Social Protection Strengthening Project, the rural development department will appoint professionals for financial management. It is aimed at ensuring the efficient delivery of the benefits of programmes for the poor, vulnerable, disabled and widows in Bihar. Central and state schemes will come under the purview of the project.

The Bihar Rural Development Society will implement it with the support of the World Bank. The agency will recruit professionals for financial management at blocks and districts. World Bank will loan the state the funds necessary to implement the project.

Rural development minister Nitish Mishra told The Telegraph: “At present, employees at the level of clerks carry out the work of financial management. There are no professionals who can conduct the internal audit. It delays the compilation of accounts for the funds received from the Centre.”

Drawn from the state treasury as advance contingency bills, the funds received are initially deposited in bank accounts for the specific payments. There have been cases though when funds for one scheme have been diverted to another but neither the amount is reverted nor is the detailed contingency bill submitted to the treasury and accountant-general.

“Weak accounting leads to delay in submission of the utilisation certificates and audit reports to the Centre. This impacts the timely release of funds. For the state schemes, bank accounts, cashbooks and a consolidated cashbook in the blocks need to be maintained,” said Mishra.

He added that the clerks responsible for accounting now would be given other work.

By the end of March 2014, the department plans to complete the recruitment of 534 accountants in the blocks and 38 financial management and internal audit specialists in the districts.

“Applications for the posts will be invited in form of advertisement approved by the chief executive officer of Bihar Rural Development Society. The advertisement will be floated on web portals visited by job seekers,” said Mishra.