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CAG raps Dispur for 'March end' syndrome

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

EXPENDITURE AT MARCH END
* Rs 149.12 crore by Power department
* Rs 145.70 cr for flood control projects
* Rs 215.31 cr for capital outlay on power projects
* Rs 191.01 cr for loans for power projects
* Rs 503.18 cr for loans to general fincial & trading institutions

Despite CAG’s advice to avoid expenditure at the fag end of fincial year to ensure prudent fincial magement, corrupt ministers-officials looting government funds by putting off expenditure to March end every year

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, April 17: Old habits die hard. This fits well with most of the Assam government departments which spend major chunk of the government funds at the end of fincial year i.e. in March. And this deplorable habit of the government departments has become a norm. This ‘March end’ syndrome however opens the door for corrupt ministers and officials to loot crores of rupees of government funds through favoured contractors.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), on several occasions earlier, objected to this habit of the departments but nothing has changed on the ground. The Fince Accounts 2013-14 report recently published by the CAG revealed that Rs 1,07,77.98 crore was spent by the departments at March end in the last fincial year.

The CAG report stated that the principles of prudent fincial magement prescribe that expenditure at the fag end of a fincial year should be avoided. “Surprisingly, Rs 1,906.31 crore was drawn by the departments concerned on March 31, 2014,” the CAG report stated.

Sources said the tendency of the departments to spend government funds at March end results in its improper utilization and poor quality of work. “When the end of March nears, the Fince department starts hurriedly sanctioning various schemes and in such a chaotic situation, the scope of fincial anomalies also increases,” sources added.

The CAG, in its 2014 report, clearly stated: “According to the Subsidiary Order 50 of Assam Treasury Rules, rush of expenditure in the closing month of the fincial year should be avoided. For sound fincial magement, uniform pace of expenditure should be maintained.”

“In March 2014, Rs 149.12 crore was spent by the Power department, which is 98.47 per cent of the total expenditure in the whole fincial year. In March 2014, Rs 145.7 crore was spent (73.42 per cent of the total expenditure in the whole fincial year) for flood control projects, Rs 215.31 crore spent (51.61 per cent of the total expenditure in the whole fincial year) for capital outlay on power projects, Rs 191.01 crore (79.3 per cent of the total expenditure in the whole fincial year) for loans for power projects and Rs 503.18 crore (100 per cent of the total expenditure in the whole fincial year) for loans to general fincial and trading institutions.”

So, from the amount of spending at March end by the government departments, one can imagine the way government funds are being utilized in the State. It may seem like madness, but there may be a sinister method to it — since this ‘March end’ scramble opens the door for corrupt sections of officialdom to misappropriate government funds in crores of rupees without doing work.

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