Udaipur- In Rajasthan, there's a significant issue affecting thousand of employees of the education department especially teachers. They are waiting for their pending payments, including arrears, GPF, surrendered leave, and gratuity. This delay has resulted in a substantial amount of money, running into crores, being stuck at the state level for some four months now. Unfortunately, this bureaucratic holdup is causing real problems for these teachers. The money they are waiting for is essential for various needs like education, marriages, and family medical treatments.
"A significant scam related to the payment system in the previous government is suspected, prompting the Rajasthan Teachers Association, to submit a memorandum to the state government. We demand a high-level investigation to clarify the situation and authorize the treasury office to promptly approve all pending financial matters," Siyaram Sharma, the State Administrative President of the Organization told The Mooknayak. " We possess names of hundreds of teachers and employees who applied for loans for their children's marriages. Although the bills have been approved by the treasury, the funds have not been transferred to their accounts yet" he further added.
Concerns about a financial scam during the previous Ashok Gehlot led government have arisen , reportedly due to the Finance Department taking over the payment process from the treasury office over the last year. Officers in the Finance Department seem to be acting arbitrarily, allege the office bearers of the Rajasthan Teachers Union (SiyaRam).
An anonymous treasury officer confirmed the existence of many pending payments, including surrender leave. The bills have been verified from their end, but the actual payment needs to be executed by the Finance Department.
Sharing insights on the issue, Arun Vyas, the State Educational Cell Co-Secretary of the organization, told The Mooknayak that allegedly officers of the Finance Department now have the control over the annual payment system of Rs 2 lakh crore. All 56 treasuries of Rajasthan have been brought under control through e-sealing software. Earlier all the payments were made after approval by treasury but presently despite the approval of bills at district level, payments have been pending for four months.
Vyas said that when the delegation from the Teachers' Union went to Jaipur in connection with the pending payments, they were informed about the situation informally , " We don't have any written order to support our claims but we were told by the sources that everything is being carried out on behalf of the directives from the CMO".
Vyas also said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) have reportedly sought an objection report on the Finance Department's takeover of the payment system.
The State General Secretary of the organization, Naveen Sharma, highlighted the troubles faced by employees due to changes in the payment system. Payments, including surrender leave, dedicated leave, RGHS-related payments, commutation payments, and gratuity payments, have been delayed for months. Payments for September are still pending.
The Finance Department is alleged to have taken control of the treasury by introducing e-sealing software, which goes against the treasury rules. Initially designed for revenue collection in Rajasthan, the e-Treasury system is now being used for making payments. Finance Department officials facilitated payments from RBI through e-Treasury using a single certificate, bypassing treasury-wise DSC and relying solely on SFTP server certificates.
The teachers union highlighted that e-Kuber only accepts SFTP server certificates and not treasury-wise DSC. The absence of communication regarding these procedural changes raises concerns, and calls for an investigation by RBI have been made.
As per Government Treasury Rules, only the treasury of the respective district is authorized to make payments. The Finance Department's unauthorized intervention and subsequent alterations in the payment system demands high level probe, the teachers said.
The Teachers' Union also claim that pensioners' benefits worth Rs 2,500 crore have been withheld. Payments, ranging from surrender leave to gratuity, GPF, and surrender leave of employees, are pending for several months. The situation demands urgent attention and thorough investigation to bring transparency and accountability to the financial processes.
The Mooknayak has formally communicated with Mr. Akhil Arora, ACS-Finance, Rajasthan Government via email, seeking clarification on the prevailing issue. We will update the story with his response once received.