'Fiscal discipline missing'

Expenditure secretary shoots off a missive to ministries to check spending far in excess of the budget

GN Bureau | February 1, 2010



That government departments routinely spend in excess of the budget allocated to them has been brought to the fore by the Public Accounts Committee. In its latest report, the committee says some of the ministries and departments "continue to display indifferent attitude towards rules laid down for containing the expenditure within the authorised limits".

It also points out how it has been repeatedly asking the secretary, department of expenditure, to act strongly to ensure that the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act of 2003 was followed in letter and spirit.

Apparently worried, the secretary in the department of expenditure, Sushama Nath, has shot up a letter to all secretaries and financial advisors to the ministries to maintain financial discipline and not spnt in excess of the budget.

The missive, sent on January 25 this year, gives a suitable account of the laid procedure, an advice on how excess expenditure can only be allowed if a supplementary grant or appropriation or an advance from the contingency fund is drawn.

It attaches a sting in the tail by adding that "special attention" of department of economic affairs, ministries of defence, railways, company affairs and mines "is invited to ensure that the phenomena of excess expenditure is not repeated".

Now we know the main culprits!

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