Sunday, August 29, 2010
Bureaucrats & Technocrats have Ruined Bihar
Bureaucrats and technocrats have ruined Bihar. It appears to be beyond repair especially in a system where only politicians are held accountable every five year. The mess in Kosi basin illustrates it. The urban planning, public transport, education system, health system and criminal infested justice system in the state reveals the colossal failure of the bureaucracy and technocracy. There are 25 lakh power connections in Bihar, but only 15,000 are for industries. Out of these, 12,500 are for small-scale industries. And out of 2,500 non-SSI units half are closed, says K P S Kesri, former president, Bihar Indusries Association.
Notwithstanding a 52.76% increase in tourist inflow in 2008-09 from 2004-05, the percentage of tourists availing the company’s accommodation facilities remained quite low in the range of 0.43-0.51% for domestic tourists and 0.60-3.73% for foreign tourists.
In such a backdrop, Bihar Vidhan Sabha witnessed massive uproar and demonstration in its last session prior to this year's October election on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG), which found discrepancies of over Rs 11,000 crore by the Bihar government, had stated the expenses incurred were “not in tune with the spirit of formation of contingency funds... provided (under) the Constitution.”
Patna high court has ordered a CBI probe against chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and health minister Nand Kishore Yadav, among others on the basis of this report.
The court noted that “on several occasions, expenditure incurred were not to meet unforeseen and emergent expenditure, but for pay and allowances, TA, LTC, office expenses, purchase of vehicles, etc”.
The report adds: “These were not in tune with the spirit of formation of contingency fund provided in the Constitution.” The departments which have the biggest amounts yet to be accounted for include rural development, health and education. The Bihar government has now directed all drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) from each and every department to deposit all the detailed contingency (DC) bills to the office of Bihar’s accountant-general in Patna.
The total number of pending bills, according to the CAG report, is 46,809. The report states: “Rules were disregarded by the DDOs and circle officers.”
It adds, “Scrutiny of records revealed that out of total withdrawals of Rs 11,924.44 crore on advance contingency bills, detailed contingency bills for only Rs 511.90 crores were submitted to the accountant-general in Patna, and no DC bills for the remaining amount of Rs 11,412.51 crores during the years 2002-03 to 2007-08 were submitted.”
CAG has criticized Bihar government for “failing” to tap its tourism potential due to a lack of planning and professional approach. In its latest report, the CAG pointed out that the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation Limited (BSTDC) failed to meet the challenges despite immense tourist potential. It recommended the formation of a state tourism policy and the preparation of a long-term perspective with clear targets.
“Though tourism is recognised as an industry, the government has not laid down any tourism policy for the state,” the CAG report tabled in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha.
Despite a 52.76% increase in tourist inflow in 2008-09 from 2004-05, the percentage of tourists availing the company’s accommodation facilities remained abysmally low in the range of 0.43-0.51% for domestic tourists and 0.60-3.73% for foreign tourists.
Efforts should be made to infuse professionalism in management with a view to provide qualitative services, CAG report said.
It also advised the state to undertake serious efforts to improve the process involved in planning and execution of infrastructure projects with an aim to avoid procedural delays and complete the projects in due time. The report said that the targeted occupancy level of 60% could not be achieved in almost all the hotels between 2004-05 and 2008-09.
The occupancy target was never reviewed by the board and further non-achievement of the minimum targeted occupancy levels resulted in a potential loss of revenue of Rs5.15 crore in 2004-09, the CAG report reveals.
The corporation receives fund from the ministry of tourism, Centre and the state government for development of infrastructure.
The utilisation percentage of available funds ranged between a dismal 1.34% and 23.52%, it said. Despite availability of funds, the company failed to commence projects.