March Mania!

Government must get this state out of this….

Unfortunately for general public and conveniently for exploiters and extortionists this year’s financial year ended with a state holiday on 31st of March. If official records of financial transactions of government departments are subjected to scrutiny the detailed analysis will reveal how our financial system has been turned March (the 3rd month of the year) centric and most of the official financial business is made at the end of the month of March—last week to be precise. This story and practice of purposive financial ineffectiveness and delay has been going on for long now. There can be many reasons for dragging much of the financial business into the month of March. Delay in finalization and authorization of annual plan, late release of funds by administrative departments and subsequent delay in endorsing the financial allocations to field agencies are major hurdles in smooth and timely official financial business. 

However, the role of vested interests within the administration in delaying government financial business for their own disgraceful interests cannot be ruled out. Delaying tactics encourage dishonest people to join hands with corrupt elements within the administration and make maximum out of the ‘March Bonanza’. Inferior works executed in the month of February and March and substandard supplies provided at the extreme end of the financial year at exorbitant rates by compromising set rules and guide lines for government purchases is result of delay . Even the genuine suppliers and executers who complete their projects well in time are made to stand in the queue and wait till the cronies and nepots make it to the finish line just at the time of closure of coffers and treasuries.
Jammu and Kashmir State, particularly the Kashmir providence is unique in many ways. Its weather conditions are entirely different from the rest of the country, so is its working season and project execution pattern. Most favorable time for execution of works plan and other projects ranges between month of May and October. Under such harsh weather conditions and time bound situation the fiscal year for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly for Kashmir province should be redrawn in harmony with the climatic zone it is situated in. Such effort will obviously discourage the plunderers and opportunists from misusing taxpayers’ hard-earned money that contribute substantially to government coffers and will also put an end to misuse of government funds by vested interests within the administration.
Practice of March mania started somewhere in late seventies of the last century at a very smaller level but by now it has turned into a mega business of swindle and fleece squeezing our fiscal year of twelve months into month of March. Come March, most of executing officers are on prowl to invite and attract the looters and fleece the genuine individuals and agencies by bargaining huge considerations for release of funds and payment of bills. Most of the budgetary provisions are withheld illicitly creating a situation of scarcity of funds, thereby coercing the gullible people to pay a substantial part of their bills and other financial instruments as bribe. An inflated and exaggerated situation of financial scarcity makes the common man to pay through his nose. A cursory look into bills and financial commitments booked within different government departments and agencies during the financial year and payments made at the end of the financial year will reveal huge discrepancies. And further scrutinizing date of receipt of financial allotments and date of payments on account of different financial heads or schemes will open a Pandora’s Box of financial irregularities and intentional delay. At times huge amount of money is declared unspent on account of certain financial heads even after huge financial obligations and commitments are yet to be cleared.
Financial waywardness and arrogance along with inconvenient fiscal pattern has complicated our financial health and discipline giving way to a vast mafia of March manipulators who are always out for a huge kill and the victim are always the innocent, honest and the common people. In the best interest of people of this state the government should rewrite and redraw its fiscal structure and the financial pattern as otherwise the exploiters and the inside moles will not only rob this state of its financial sheen but will encourage the financial corruption in a big way. Government is duty bound to get this state out of this ‘March Mania’ and bring complete transparency in making timely and judicious payments and disbursements.