In tune with the recommendation of Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) that at least 20% of gram panchayats go for online audit for release of Central funds every year, the State government has decided to go a step ahead and conduct the exercise in 30% villages from Monday.

Director of State Audit department M. Venkateswara Rao told The Hindu that the objective in taking up audit in 30% villages this year was to ensure completion of 100% audit of accounts of panchayats for 2019-20 in three years. Next year another 30% villages will be included and, in the third year, 40% villages will be covered, he said. Explaining the process of audit, Mr. Rao said it was time-bound where the panchayats would be asked to furnish the accounts on a fixed day. The intimation to panchayats, records and audit objections would go online. On fulfilment of objections, the audit report would be communicated to panchayat secretary.

The grants of FFC from the next instalment would be released on compliance of the process.

The FFC had mandated online audit to maintain transparency and proper check in upkeep of records. It asked the State governments to take up the programme from August 3 to October-end.

In Telangana, the Panchayat Raj and State audit departments had released guidelines for panchayat secretaries and district-level auditors and trained 350 audit officers for the purpose.

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