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Of Givers and Spenders

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Feb 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s gratuitous advice to the Centre to refrain from acting “like a master” in the presence of Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot at Guwahati cannot fail to amuse a lot of people who have watched for years how the Centre’s development funds are handled in Assam. All that Gehlot did was to ask the north-eastern States to speed up submission of pending utilization certificates of funds that his ministry had released. And considering that the Centre’s formula for allotting development grants to the north-eastern States is 10 per cent loan and 90 per cent grant, the Centre is perfectly within its rights to demand that the utilization certificates for funds released by the Centre are submitted to the ministries concerned in time. But that is not how Gogoi looks at a very logical arrangement that is an accepted precondition for securing the Centre’s grants and loans. This is what he had to say on Thursday: “The north-eastern States have many problems such as floods or conflicts, and in some places we can work for six months a year only. How can you expect all the utilization certificates with so many problems? Sitting in Delhi you cannot understand the problems of the region.” Gogoi is trying to do three things. (1) He is trying to find excuses for his errant and incompetent officers. (2) He is trying to do this not for the benefit of the people, but rather for the benefit of a species of privileged parasites who have to be given every opportunity for siphoning out public money to private coffers as they have been doing for 14 years now without anyone getting punished. (3) By demanding such an impossible and bizarre fincial and auditing culture and expecting the Centre to endorse it, he is permanently ruining the work culture of our government employees.

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