Gogoi government repeatedly ignored PAG’s exhortations on fincial discipline
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 13: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said Assam is heading into a severe fincial crisis following the Central government slashing funds for several Central schemes in the State. A State Demand Day was observed by the Congress party all over Assam and urged the rendra Modi government to immediately release funds being kept on hold.
However, it is the Tarun Gogoi government that should be held responsible for the mess the State is in. Since the UPA days, New Delhi had been putting stress on timely submission of utilization certificates against funds sanctioned for different Central schemes in the State, but many departments of the State government had failed to comply.
After the rendra Modi-led BJP came to power at the Centre, the new government sternly directed Dispur to submit utilization certificates on time or face action. On this issue, the Principal Accountant General of Assam wrote a letter to the State government, highlighting factors like fincial mismagement, pending utilization certificates, unlawfully transferred funds, opening and operation of current bank accounts and huge udjusted amounts.
The letter also revealed that the Fince department on issues like sanctioned money, utilized amount and pending utilization certificates (UCs) had sought report from all the departments concerned, but many of them failed to revert back.
“However, efforts have resulted in little decrease in the number of UCs that stands on March 31, 2014 at an alarming 19,671 worth Rs 11,834.24 crore dating back to 2001-02. A large number of these pending UCs also coincides with the unlawful transfer of such grants to current bank accounts operated by Drawing and Disbursal officers (DDO)s of the Government of Assam (GoA) with the Fince department’s prior approval (2005-06 to September 2013),” the letter said.
The letter said, “It is also pertinent to note that the Fince department itself, in addition to Education (General), Health, Industry & Commerce, Panchayat & Rural Development, Mines, Minerals & Power, Rural Development, WPT & BC, etc. are among the major defaulter departments of GoA in the period from 2001-02 to 2012-13. In 2013-14, even relatively smaller departments of GoA such as Cultural Affairs (250/Rs 137.61 crore), Fisheries (207/Rs 163.91 crore), Town & Country Planning (111/ Rs 99.42 crore) and Planning & Development (46/Rs 138.07 crore) have large udjusted amounts. Other departments like Education (General) (12675/Rs 1,569.56 crore), WPT & BC (l454/Rs 1,995.58 crore), Social Welfare (521/Rs 975.01 crore), Health (418/Rs 888.75 crore), Sports & Youth Welfare (404/252.2 crore), Panchayat & Rural Development (l4l/Rs 968.57 crore) and Rural Development (70/Rs 677.68 crore) too show manifold larger udjusted amounts.”
Courses of action as proposed by the Principal Accountant General, Assam to the government further stated: “Order impartial and appropriate investigation of opening and maintence of all current bank accounts of GoA’s DDOs and for extraordirily high udjusted amounts against the departments mentioned in paras 1 & 2 supra. Prescribe November 30, 2014 as the target for submission of all pending UCs from 2001-02 to 2007-08, December 31, 2014 for 2008-09 to 2013-14 and January 31, 2015 for April-November 2014 or treat all such udjusted amounts as losses to government after following due process.”
But the Tarun Gogoi government hardly took any concrete action on this and other directives. The result is an alarming morass of fincial mismagement and irregularities Assam has sunk into. The pain will be borne by the unsuspecting people of the State.