Reduced Central Grants
The news that the Centre’s grants to Assam will be reduced by several thousand crores of rupees (compared to last year’s allocations) is obviously sad news for ministers and bureaucrats of the Assam government. However, they have only themselves to blame for what they obviously regard as a major catastrophe. The grants are being reduced because the utilization certificates, accounts and other statutory requirements relating to such development grants have not been furnished by the State government in time. This is not surprising. During the last 13 years many officers of the Assam government have probably forgotten how to submit proper utilization certificates and statements of accounts in time because of the culture of loot of Central grants has become the accepted culture of State government departments. So ubiquitous has been this culture of siphoning public money that all concerns of legality, morality and accountability to the people have been thrown overboard. However, there are still some people, who are happy that at long last the Centre has begun to take note of what happens to much of the development funds allocated to Assam. We have repeatedly claimed that the best course of action for the Centre is to drastically reduce the development grants to Assam until it is totally satisfied about the proper utilization of such funds from the documents submitted not to speak of the actual physical monitoring of the projects by the Centre. What needs to be underscored is that in Assam only a fraction of the development funds allocated to the State are actually spent on the projects and the bulk of the funds are siphoned off into private coffers of anti–social individuals. As such, a reduction of such grants is quite unlikely to hurt the common people at all. It can only hurt the coterie of the exclusive lot that make easy money out of the exchequer by depriving the real intended beneficiaries. The Union government has no responsibility to increase the persol assets of such anti–people elements.