Advisers take dim view

Ranchi, Jan. 23: The governor's newly appointed advisers, K. Vijay Kumar and Madhukar Gupta, were today left unimpressed with government departments over poor spending of budgetary allocations and tardy pace of development work following detailed discussions with bureaucrats.

The duo met secretaries of various departments to get feedback on the status of welfare and development schemes, continuing discussions at Project Building for over four hours starting around 11.20am.

"There are several areas that require improvement. But these are not unusual. In the next four to five days, we will critically examine the status reports of the schemes and projects being run by different departments and work out future action plans accordingly," commented Kumar, as his counterpart nodded.

Both maintained that they will be holding another meeting tonight with the chief secretary, development commissioner, finance secretary and a few other senior officials to discuss the "outcomes" of the round during the day.

The advisers stressed that they would give attention to strict execution of Integrated Action Plan (IAP), Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) and other Centre-sponsored schemes focusing on effective implementation in rural areas especially.

Earlier, officials of various departments gave brief presentations on the status of schemes. Sources said several secretaries had a tough time explaining the poor utilisation of budgetary allocations.

Some reportedly argued that delay on the part of the finance department was greatly responsible for the sorry state.

"They, in turn, repeatedly prompted finance secretary Sukhdeo Singh to step out of the hall and call up his subordinates to get details about when the files concerned were sent to office and disposed of," confided a participant.

Sources said Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had asked the advisers to give special attention to welfare and development schemes under the IAP, BRGF and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

"During the last three-four days, the governor himself has had detailed talks with the chief secretary and secretaries of certain key departments. The advisers, too, were adequately briefed in Delhi before taking off for Ranchi. Further, the Centre is now keeping tabs on Raj Bhavan, also because of 'humiliations' caused to it during the Syed Sibtey Razi regime," said a senior official at Raj Bhavan.

Income tax sleuths had notably raided the premises of then governor Razi's private secretary and close aides in 2009. Razi was consequently transferred to Assam.

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