Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Moribund Ministries Flushed With Funds

Every year, come January, ministries go overdrive with their unfinished projects and unspent allocated funds. That is because the allocations are for the 12-month period April-March and first 9 months usually pass in warming up and frenetic activity is seen during the last quarter of the financial year (January-March). Reports usually appear about unspent funds in January and then the war cry is given.
One such report in Times of India 'Ministries sitting in funds, may loose unspent chunk' is an eye-opener. The worst ranking ministries are civil aviation 1%( Rs130 crores or $30 million), steel 16% ( Rs45 crores or $10 million), Non-conventional energy 18%( Rs597 crores or $130 million) and tourism 27%( Rs830 crores or $180 million) besides others who have not spent even 40% of allocated funds. So the usual excuse of funds shortage cannot be forked out for miserable progress of these ministries. It is the lethargy and inefficiency of the concerned ministries which is responsible for such a deplorable state of affairs despite a separate Expenditure ministry being there for monitoring expenditures.
I find the non-performance of the ministry of non-conventional energy, tourism and steel particularly very disappointing. India is heavily dependent upon imports for its oil needs and exploiting non-conventional energy can mitigate to some extent its energy crisis. Poor performance in such crucial areas is therefore alarming and unpardonable. So is the case with the steel ministry as growth of steel industry holds the key to removing infrastructural weakness. In case of tourism which has got such a huge potential, opportunities are being frittered away while other competing nations benefit out of our inaction.
Why cannot the concerned officials be held responsible for their callousness and inefficiency? The slogan should be 'Perform or perish' and anyone failing including ministers should be shown the door.
What do you say?

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