ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kerala : Strike by Government Employees: Much Ado about Nothing?

In all the rhetoric about the strike of government employees, the contents of the government order which provoked the strike have been all but lost sight of. And yet, it is clear that the cost cutting measures prescribed are neither practical nor will they materially help in reducing expenditure.

Growing Fraud in Government

Fraud, waste and corruption are alarmingly on the increase. Yet there is nothing in the Activity Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to show if the CAG is even aware of this. No agency of government has the ringside view of the rottenness of the management of government finances. But like the good monkey, the CAG keeps his eyes and ears shut.

Budget Deficits Are Forever

The success or otherwise of the various measures the state and central governments have taken to reduce fiscal deficits has to be understood in the light of the increasing indifference of our legislators to the issue and the carelessness seen in the preparation of budget documents. These measures are evidently not backed by political will.

Government Pay and Perks

The national pay scene is very chaotic and full of anomalies, many of them legacies of history. Government employees now enjoy several unintended benefits which originated during British rule plus numerous concessions unique to India that have been wrested by them through agitation. An objective survey that will be equally fair to the government employees and the public that pays them is immediately needed to bring out the many excesses and to remove them.

Lessons from Bihar Fodder Scam

Lessons from Bihar Fodder Scam K P Joseph lt will be wrong to believe that if the politicians, government officials and suppliers responsible for the Bihar fodder scam are punished and the money lost recovered, everything will be all right. The fodder scam is but a small symptom of a deep and chronic malady afflicting the Bihar government and quite a few other state governments as well. Basic financial control has collapsed, audit and accounts are in wild disorder and the constitutional arrangements for legislative control over government finances have completely broken down.

Piped Music and Telephone Attendants-Report of Fifth Pay Commission

The disparity between the average salary of government employees and per capita income in India is far higher than in any other country, except a few in Africa. The question that has to be asked is whether the people of India should be asked to pay more for getting the same services on the basis of the recommendations of a Pay Commission whose report is amateurish, partial to senior officials and ill-considered.

Plunder of Public Exchequer as Government Audit Sleeps

Plunder of Public Exchequer as Government Audit Sleeps K P Joseph Cases like the Bihar fodder scam in which officers of a small department of the Bihar government succeeded in stealing nearly Rs 1,000 crore through gross and repeated violation of basic financial rules spread over several years show how government audit has collapsed and the public exchequer is being plundered at will WHEN inaugurating the conference of accountants general in New Delhi recently, prime minister H D Deve Gowda spoke about the decline in the performance of the audit department and the finance committees of the legislature. He wanted to strengthen audit and called for suggestions from the audit department to do this. Past experience shows that well-intentioned suggestions like those of the prime minister are forgotten even before the conference is over and ignored. It will be a miracle if things turn out differently this time.

Why Government Spending Is Out of Control

and to units by size/type. Three kinds of subseetors are recommended for selection: those with a high growth in domestic demand, those with a low Indian share in world trade, and those with a. stagnant demand but high wage share of value added. In the case of clusters moving to rural areas near urban clusters, encouragement of private sector to expand existing small clusters and establishing infrastructure in potential clusters are proposed. Larger sized units are recommended for selection.

Fifth Pay Commission On the Beaten Track

Not much thinking has apparently gone into drafting the terms of reference of the new Pay Commission. Though the problems of pay determination now are rather different from those faced by the government ten years ago, what has been done is to blindly copy the wording of the last Pay Commission's terms of reference.

Decline and Fall of Government Audit

K P Joseph For a variety of reasons, the sprawling establishment of the comptroller and auditor general has become a silent and indifferent spectator to waste and fraud in public funds.

Mess in Management of Government Finances-Will New Parliamentary Committees Help

It is necessary to examine, early and at the national level, the extent of the colossal mess in the management of government finances and to seek practical remedies. However, unwieldy parliamentary committees of doubtful effectiveness are hardly the answer.

Legislative Control of Public Spending

Legislative Control of Public Spending K P Joseph Much of the Central budget during the last three years has been voted without any discussion in parliament and over 4 per cent of all Central government expenditure is incurred in the last three months of the financial year. There is no systematic examination of budget proposals by expert select committees. Legislative control over the budget is becoming progressively illusory IN round numbers government spends about Rs 2,00,000 crore a year, out of which half is spent by the Central government and the other half by ail the State governments combined. More than a third of the resource of the State governments comes from the Central government. The Centra] government itself keeps its accounts. The accounts of the State governments are for the most part kept by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), who also audits the accounts of the Central and State governments and presents his audit reports to the legislatures. Theoretically, the Indian taxpayer is well served and should have no grounds for unhappiness over the way government is handling public money, as the legislatures have complete control over public spending, first through approving the budget which covers all spending proposals and later through examining the annual accounts and audit reports. The CAG enjoys complete independence under the Constitution to audit all transactions without fear or favour. He has more independence than his counterparts in other countries.

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