Internal resistance keeps BBMP from rolling out fiscal reforms

This is one of the objections councillors have raised to "stonewall" implementation of the civic body's new accounting guidelines that propose sweeping fiscal reforms that promise to help the cash-strapped civic body make proper use of funds and plug leaks.

The BBMP Accounting Guidelines 2017 seeks to put in place a Central Accounting Cell to replace the existing unit-wise account maintenance system to ensure all financial transactions are monitored under one roof. It also proposes to integrate existing financial software into one, a chart of accounts that will have a 10-digit code to track transactions among other reforms. In a first, the civic body has also mandated an audit of its financial statements in a time-bound manner.

"But these reforms are being blocked by the councillors as the new systems will bring in more accountability," a senior BBMP official said.

The new guidelines were prepared based on a report by city-based Badari, Madhusudhan & Srinivasan, Chartered Accountants, which was roped in to review the civic body's existing accounting system.

The BBMP Public Accounts Standing Committee is sitting on this new accounting guidelines by listing out several objections, including a grouse that the handbook brought out by the civic body's finance wing does not have names and photographs of the committee members.

The committee has listed 14 objections, mostly technical in nature. For instance, the committee has stated that the guidelines were not prepared in the formats prescribed in "rule 17 of the third part of schedule 9 read with articles 150 and 151 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act."

The Committee also wants the BBMP to "use the option under article 422 of the KMC Act to get the guidelines vetted by the government."

Experts feel the lack of standardised fiscal management practices in the BBMP, which the new accounting guidelines promise to deliver, has resulted in years of mismanagement.

"The new accounting guidelines is a huge positive step forward through long overdue," Janaagraha CEO Srikanth Viswanathan said.

"The prospect of audited financial statements within four months of the financial year-end are timely bank reconciliation statements are its most important aspects. But until we see audited statements for 2016-17, and until these guidelines are notified as part of KMC Act, it will remain an unfinished agenda," he warned.

 

What the new guidelines propose:

* Daily property tax collection monitoring.

* Weekly reconciliation of all bank accounts.

* Preparation of monthly financial statements.

* Preparation and audit of statements soon after fiscal year closure.  

* Central Accounting Cell.

* Integration of financial software into one.  

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