In Uttar Pradesh, no work has happened at the panchayat level in the past two months. This is why
The online payment system in gram panchayats was to start from August 15. However, the cheque-payment system was discontinued from July 31. It's been two months that village heads have withdrawn any funds, which means no work has happened
Ranvijay Singh 19 Sep 2019 7:39 AM GMT
"The online payment system in gram panchayats was to start in Uttar Pradesh from August 15. We didn't have a problem with that. However, the authorities discontinued the cheque-payment system from July 31, when the online payment system wasn't even fully functional. It's been two months now. We haven't been able to withdraw any fund," said Sujeet Singh, the village head of Pipariya Dulai gram panchayat in Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh.
He is not the only one. Many village heads in the state are facing this problem, as a result of which practically no work has happened at the panchayat level in the past two months.
As per a government order, under the Public Financial Management System (PFMC), the online payment system was to start in Uttar Pradesh's 58,758gram panchayats from August 15. However, the system to get funds through cheque payments was discontinued on July 31. As a result of this, until September 17, only 1,164 panchayats have been able to start with the online payment system.
Talking about the issue, Yogeshwar Singh, village head from Madhav Tanda in Uttar Pradesh's Pilibhit district, said: "Earlier we were getting paid through cheques. The account was jointly operated by the village head and the panchayat secretary. When the online payment system started, dongles bearing their signatures were made available. While all this was happening, the system collapsed."
He added: "They should have at least trained us. They should have made sure that computers and Internet facilities are available at panchayat bhavans. The new system was introduced without any planning. Now work has come to a standstill."
The Mirzapur district in the state leads all the other districts in terms of implementation of the online payment system. The system has started in 48 gram panchayats in Mirzapur.However, there are 809 panchayats in the district, so the ratio is still skewed.
On the other hand, in Khiri, Raebareli and Shamli, only one panchayat in each of these districts has started with the online payment system. Most of the gram panchayats are suffering because of this transition.
Talking about how the system works, Pradeep Kumar Maurya, gram Pradhan from Azampur village in Sant Kabir Nagar district said, "The village heads have two accounts -- one is a state fund, the other is the fund created under the 14th Finance Commission. Both are not accepting cheque payment and both are not functioning because the dongles have not been made available. Not a single village head was trained for this transition."
He added: "It's not too late. The government can still train us."
However, even those gram panchayats where the online system has started, they are facing difficulties.
"The dongal system has been installed, but we are not able to withdraw funds. I have heard that many payments have been cancelled," said Bhuri Devi, the village head of Midhakur gram panchayat.
When we spoke to Hemant Yadav,the Block Development Officer of Fatehpur block in Barabanki district, he said: "This is a new system which is why the pradhans are facing so many issues. We have trained them. They will learn."
Reacting to this story, Bhupendra Singh, Uttar Pradesh Panchayati Raj minister, said on Twitter, "We have adopted this online payment system under the Public Fund and Management System. Because it's a new system, they are facing these glitches. Soon, the system will work smoothly."