India

Bihar: Financial Mismanagement Ascend; ‘March Loot’ Touched Record Height

Jitendra

PATNA – State chief minister Nitish Kumar’s vociferous claim to contain the ‘March loot’ proved to be mere words of mouth to cover up Government’s financial mismanagement as well as governance failure. The withdrawal of the money from state treasury on the last day of March i.e. 31 March has touched a new height. The opposition parties have already expressed their concerns towards this ‘loot’.

The term ‘March loot’ signifies the extravaganza made in the last month of the financial year. The state treasury bench data is the reflection of how the money being spent in the last few days of the month of March.

The following are the data of Average withdrawal (in Crores)

Year     31 March      30 March     29 March          Total
2012     3360      824     1076          5260 cr.
2011     1515      1065     559          3139 cr.
2010     1396      615     381          2392 cr.

 Source: Reserve Bank of India

Contrary to the RBI figures, on April 1, finance department told few journalists that there was only Rs. 236 crore withdrawn on 31st March. The department was patting its own back for lower amount of withdrawal. It is worth noting that department had ordered to close the state treasury by 2 pm.

Perhaps! It was the first time in Bihar history when state treasury was closed after the order of finance department on 31st March. The fear of ‘loot’ (advance contingent) on large scale haunted the finance department more. The Finance Commissioner said the historic decision was taken in the interest to maintain financial discipline of the state. There was RBI guideline that state deficit should not be more than 3 percent.

The truth is stranger than the fiction. According to the report of Reserve Bank Of India, Rs. 617 crore on 28 March, Rs. 1076 crore on 29 March, Rs. 824 crore on 30 March and Rs. 3360 crore on 31 March was withdrawn from the state treasury by different departments and ministry for their future use which they will have to show in their expenditure in Details Contingent (DC).

In comparison to last two years, Rs.1515 crore on 31 March, 2011 and Rs.1396 crore on 31 March, 2010 were withdrawn. The amount which was withdrawn on this year 31 March was more than double in comparison to previous year.

According to aforesaid data, the total amount withdrew this year in last three days was 5260 crore which is much larger amount in comparison to the previous years.

What does it imply?

Patna based economist, Prof. NK Choudhary, said the administration is not only for maintaining law and order but also for executing the plans and schemes. According to this year CAG report, Bihar govt. had returned its hundred per cent funds of 99 schemes. A department which fails to spend its part of allocated fund in a year then what is the guarantee that it would spend it after taking Advance Contingence (AC). Certainly it would give rise to manipulation in Detailed Contingent (DC).

‘This also increases the chances of poor quality of expenditure. The report revealed that out of Rs. 7,015.37 crore drawn during 2010-11 on AC bills, Rs. 2,749.82 crore (39 per cent) was drawn in March 2011 alone. Of this, Rs 937.75 crore was drawn during the last four days, between March 28 and 31, 2011’, added Prof. Choudhary.

According to this year CAG report that pointed out that out of Rs. 25,331.05 crore drawn on Abstract Contingent (AC) bills between the year 2002-03 and 2010-11, Detailed Contingent (DC) bills amounting to Rs 2,755.68 crore only were submitted to the Accountant General, Bihar.

The report on state finances for the period ended on March 31, 2011, highlighted altogether 1,034 cases of misappropriation, defalcation, theft and loss involving government money amounting to Rs 409 crore. The rural development department is the biggest culprit. The report also took dig at many govt. departments which involved in glare bungling. The PWD gave contract to fake contractors for constructing roads. There is a large scale bungling in the purchase of medicines and other equipment in the medical college hospitals of the state, it said. (Courtesy: Newzfirst)

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