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COULD PUNJAB BE RESURRECTED OUT OF MESS, DECAY?
DEBATE FROM A RETROSPECTIVE EFFECT NEEDED, FUTURE REPERCUSSIONS TO BE DISCUSSED
The issue deserves thorough study and debate with retrospective effects and also in terms of its future repercussion. The taxonomy of DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer), MSP (Minimum Support Price), and the purpose and performance of RDF (Rural Development Fund), need to be dissected thoroughly with clinical precision to identify the rot. The inappropriate usage of RDF, in colossal breach of defined parameters for the apt utilization of this fund, would make this study more revealing to understand the fiscal mess the Punjab is in at present.
I’m sure such a comprehensive study would help us to grasp the causes of the decay; as to how the policy makers of Punjab and the bureaucrats at the helm, holding key positions in the echelon of power has exploited the secret doors and abused the loose ends of the financial institutions of the State, over the years, with the misapplication of their cunning minds. The sleuth of selected bureaucrats has shown greater cupidity and worked with excessive desire, especially to grab the larger chunk of the plunder.
Unfortunately, the culture of micro-audits and accountability has almost vanished from the system of Governance in Punjab. Eventually the nexus of corrupt Punjab politicians and the bureaucrats of the same hue began overlooking the inflexible fiscal discipline, in utter disregard of their sworn responsibility towards the financial health of the State.
The decay started progressively increasing, when the strength of the ‘steel frame’ of the administrative system (The Indian Administrative Services) began crumbling due to the non adherence of administrative ethics and moral values, essentially required for sublime human behavior.
The so-called steel frame that was created to serve India begin to behave as rulers, ironically the servants become the ‘Masters’ of the destiny of the people, and this mindset stealthily crept up top to bottom and peaked up all over ‘the Steel Frame’ and thus the system of Public administration, holistically fell prey to morally besmirched conduct of the administrators. I have no hesitation to say that highly corrupt bureaucrats have emerged as a class apart, having excellent sense of maneuverability to manipulate the choicest money minting postings, through their manipulative skills.
As a case study, I’m constrained to mention here that things became horribly nastiest when the Punjab Government, led by S. Parkash Singh Badal pledged the entire annual receipt of RDF (Rural Development Fund) amounting to Rs. 4200 Crore approximately, for five years to Punjab National Bank and drew the whopping loan of 20,000 Crores against the RDF.
Thus the pledged RDF practically became NPA (Non Performing Asset) for the State of Punjab. The unrestricted usage of the amount of Rs. the 20,000 Crore drawn against the RDF was palpably used very liberally, more often to suit the whims and fancies of the political masters and also for the purposes, not defined under the parameter and structure of the RDF. The practice of handling finances in the incumbent Government is no better, rather its worst.
GOVT OF INDIA HAS TAKEN STRONG NOTICE OF ILLUSIONARY TACTICS
Now the Government of India has taken strong notice of such illusionary tactics of the Punjab politicians and reduced the percentage of RDF from 3% to just 1% courtesy, iniquitous element at the helm. A profound study in the fiscal indiscipline would expose the nexus and reveal as to how the entire network was thoroughly corrupted and has derailed the robust procurement system of Punjab.
The evolving situation of inherent distrust between the Central Government and the State Government has not arisen in a day. The intelligence inputs provided by the agencies to Govt. of India has identified all the discernible links, which are actively engaged in misappropriating the Central Government Funds of various Welfare schemes, meant for the welfare of the poor people of Punjab with brazen impunity.
The State of Punjab unfortunately is a ‘fiscal wreck’ today, which needs to be resurrected, and salvaged by all means, out of appalling mess. This is possible only if the industrious element in the State Administration; I mean the part of ‘Steel frame’ which is not rotten as yet, takes a solemn pledge to recreate ‘New Punjab’. They should have the dignity and moral fiber to say ‘No’ to the unlawful insinuations of the Ministers, notwithstanding the political power and patronage they enjoy. If such a strict adherence to constitutionality and the rule of the law is affirmed and followed meticulously with impeccable integrity and forthrightness; there is no reason why the lost glory of Punjab could not be redeemed.
Another detestable trend that has emerged among the political class ; that when the incumbent political party demit office, after losing elections democratically, they try to destroy the State infrastructure and resources so inconsiderately, that the system becomes unmanageable for the incoming dispensation. This kind of madness and insanity must be stopped forthwith.