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How babus failed to manage big money

Ranchi, April 2: Sample these.

The civil aviation department, which wishes to bring “mega changes” in the sector, has been able to utilise only 37.67 per cent of plan head funds in the 2013-14 fiscal. Of its Rs 291.99 crore revised allocation, the department has harnessed Rs 110 crore to award benefits to land losers of the Birsa Munda Airport expansion project.

The energy department’s performance is poorer at 23.50 per cent. The original allocation for last fiscal was Rs 1,001 crore, which was revised to Rs 843 crore in the previous supplementary budget. The department ended up using only Rs 198.14 crore, underscoring the government’s lack of focus.

Dearth of irrigation facilities is a bane of Jharkhand. However, it has never become a major poll plank. So, babus of the water resources and minor irrigation departments care little about plan fund utilisation, which stood at 35.41 per cent and 27.49 per cent, respectively, in the just-concluded fiscal. Also, the water resources department failed to pursue a Rs 700-crore central scheme under accelerated irrigation benefit programme for the Subernarekha Multipurpose Project — a white elephant so far.

The final figures of the last financial year released last evening exposes a very laggard government machinery, which carried out little or no implementation of schemes and promised projects at the ground level.

The cumulative state plan for the last fiscal was Rs 16,800 crore, which was revised to Rs 16,356.51 crore. But, the state’s various departments together managed to exhaust only around Rs 9,560.77 crore.

The data sheet shows that the higher education department could use only 22.44 per cent of the state plan fund allocations. Of the Rs 94.50-crore budget, it spent Rs 21.21 crore on development activities at various varsities.

When confronted, state finance secretary A.P. Singh played defensive. “It (poor use of funds) primarily happened because the universities failed to submit utilisation certificates against the funds already sanctioned to them by the state government,” he claimed.

The transport department, headed by additional chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, is perhaps the worst among equals. It utilised only 7.95 per cent from its bulky Rs 94.40-crore coffer.

Chakraborty is also in charge of the civil aviation department. He did not take his calls on Wednesday.

The government’s saving grace is the rural development department and a few of its more petite cousins.

A whopping 105.72 per cent of the revised estimate of Rs 824.46 crore was used for rural development, while the road construction department spent 78.81 per cent its Rs 1,985 crore allocation. Information technology and tourism departments have crossed the 85 per cent utilisation mark.