The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jharkhand fiscal alert

Ranchi, Feb. 7: Public Accounts Committee chairman and RJD legislator Girinath Singh today warned that Jharkhand was heading for a virtual fiscal collapse following an abnormal rise in government expenditure and fall in revenue collections.

Addressing reporters after a PAC meeting, Singh said that over the past two years, revenue collections by the commercial taxes department had been “alarmingly low” and falling steadily as compared with the previous years.

The PAC chairman pointed out that despite the low collections, the performance of all state government departments and ministries has been marked by gross financial indiscipline. The PAC meeting was also attended by the Jharkhand accountant-general and the commissioner of commercial taxes.

Singh said that audits carried out by the accountant-general over the past two years have established that while annual budgets passed by the Assembly form the basis of performance of individual ministries, non-plan expenses of all the departments have been rapidly rising.

He said that to prevent a “total collapse”, a recommendation has been made to the state government to create special PAC cells in each department, headed by the secretary concerned, which would act as a watchdog on all expenditure incurred and proposed to be incurred by each department.

“These special cells will be required to file periodic returns on the performance of the department and would report directly to me,” Singh said.

Though Singh refused to elaborate, he said audit reports submitted by the accountant-general to the PAC with detailed comments over the past two years have established that not a single state department could be certified to have functioned within the parameters laid down by the annual plans.

Commenting on political developments later, Singh and Jharkhand RJD chief Baldeo Hajra said instructions have been issued by party leader Laloo Prasad Yadav not to put up any candidate from the Poreyahat Assembly seat where byelections are slated for February 26.

They said the party has decided to support the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha nominee to avoid a split in secular votes.

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