Day – 44
1) You are the Secretary of Ministry of Finance at the Central Government. Amongst others, the mandate of this ministry is to discharge funds to states. The way public funds are utilized is highly influenced by the timely allocation of funds from Centre to states. As a federal nation, it is default for your country to have different centre-state disputes or differences. Following two specific instructions are given to you by the Minister:
- To delay release of funds for a employment guarantee scheme to certain states which have disagreed with a tax reform proposal of Centre and
- To marginally reduce the special category funds allocated for the hilly states that borders neighbors, since they are opposing establishment of mega-infrastructure to handle security threats at border This strategy is expected to put pressure on states and nudge them to agree with the genuine initiatives of Centre.
Discuss the issues regarding utilisation of public funds in this case. What will be your response to the instructions of Minister? (20M)
2) You are an IAS officer currently posted as the Secretary to a Zilla Panchayat in a state. It is a backward district and majority of its population are from Scheduled Caste category. The state government follows the performance grants model to allocate funds for development projects. For this year, promotion of literacy and nutrition is the target given with 50% weightage in overall scoring. But in a district with historical forces of deprivation and social structures that are exploitative, it is not easy to achieve these targets. A village in this district is for long suffering from lack of a bridge to cross a river which makes hassle-free commute to adjacent town impossible. During rainy season, the problem is more intense. That agricultural village can hardly take its produce to the nearby town and farmers are deprived from opportunity to sell their produce at remunerative price. This village is composed of dominant land-owning castes, who give employment to many landless labourers from nearby villages who happen to be from SC community
If a bridge is constructed, it will help in integration of these villages to the town markets. But the funds will not be allocated this year since adequate scores are not made. The elected members of Zilla Panchayat come to you and discuss that if data can be manipulated here and there slightly, the score can raise to the eligibility level. Majority of them are representatives of SC community who see this bridge as a critical game-changer in the community’s empowerment. In fact you come to know that, the dominant caste which denied temple entry to SCs in the central village is ready to give due status to the downtrodden section as a token of gratitude to you. Your wife, who is also from the SC community advises you that in light of larger good, a data tweak seems nothing harmful.
What will be your response? Justify your decision. (20M)