‘Reckless promises’: Centre Takes JK Ministers, Legislators to Task
‘These Hollow Announcements Deceive The Electorate And Foment Hatred Against Union Of India’
Imran Muzaffar (Greater Kashmir)
Srinagar: In a virtual snub, the Government of India has asked ministers and legislators in Jammu and Kashmir not to make ‘reckless’ announcements regarding allocation of funds for developmental works in political rallies and public functions.
The Centre has also lambasted the ministers and legislators in J&K for “fomenting hatred against the Union of India” by making such announcements which later turn out to be mere gimmicks and are aimed at “deceiving the electorate.” “The ministers and legislators have no right to announce blindly the allocation of funds over public issues whatever they may be. They must not deceive the electorate by throwing surprises for political ends. It is only after proper estimates that such announcements should be made,” reads a Planning Commission of India memo dashed to the state government.
The ‘dictatorial memo’ has ruffled many feathers in the state’s corridors of power with ministers and legislators, according to sources, expressing displeasure over such an “authoritarian diktat” from the Commission. “But they can hardly face up to the PCI instruction and no minister or legislator now onwards can have the power to announce fund allocation without estimates and without following proper guidelines,” an official privy to the PCI communication told Greater Kashmir.
The Centre, the official said, has asked the J&K Government to “make its ministers and MLAs understand” that their “blind announcements” on funds allocation in political rallies and other public functions were badly affecting the financial administration in the state. “They have been asked to prepare well thought out estimates and financial drafts genuinely before making announcements regarding allocation funds for any public works. Also the J&K Government has been asked to sensitize its ministers and MLAs through workshops and seminars so that they can understand the nuances of allocation of funds,” he said. “Rather than trying to throw surprises in public meetings by blindly announcing funds for various works, ministers and MLAs must concentrate on pending works and ensure accountability in the previously-allocated state and central funds invested into various projects,” the memo, according to sources, reads.
The development comes after the Planning Commission of India spotted loopholes in allocation of funds in J&K, the official said. “The Planning Commission is currently gauging how the state governments are allocating funds for various projects. In case of J&K, it has observed that whenever a minister or MLA goes, he/she announces funds blindly on works that may either cost less or more from the exchequer. The Planning Commission observes that all this is affecting the governance and lands the state government in grave financial mess,” he said. The GoI has also lambasted ministers and MLAs for fomenting hatred against the Union of India by making such announcements which later turn out to be mere gimmicks, the official said. “The MLAs have also been directed to allocate and utilize the constituency development funds properly,” he said. “The GoI has expressed dismay over how the MLAs and ministers were allocating the funds.
The GoI has said this way ministers and MLAs instill in people hatred against the Union of India. They have been asked to not deceive the electorate,” the official said. The Planning Commission has observed that in J&K much of the exchequer was being exhausted without proper estimates. “The GoI has also decided to formulate an expert panel to audit the allocation of funds in J&K during the last two fiscals,” the official said.
Principal Secretary, Planning and Development Department B R Sharma did not respond to repeated telephone calls from this newspaper.