Modi proves more benevolent for police than Nitish

Modi proves more benevolent for police than Nitish

The last word on the battle between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Bihar respectively, is yet to be heard.

But this will be one achievement the Gujarat chief minister will be happy about: leaving his Bihar counterpart way behind on the utilisation of central funds for police modernisation. Gujarat spent the whole of the allotted Rs 33.23 crore during 2011-12, according to the latest data on utilisation, while Bihar did not utilise a single paise from the Rs 28.50 crore released by the Union Home Ministry during the fiscal.

Bihar is not the alone in this category. There are 12 states, including Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra, which have not spent any money from the allocation for modernisation of the police force (MPF), a non-plan scheme through which the Centre provides funds to states to procure weapons, communication systems and other equipment.

Five states, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have used only less than 50 per cent of the funds. Karnataka was allocated Rs 53.37 crore in 2011-12, out of which Rs 28 crore remained unspent, while the figures for 2010-11 were Rs 83.01 crore and Rs 20.81 crore respectively.

However, Bihar’s record for the year 2010-11 is impressive, as it managed to use the whole Rs 63.67 crore allotted in 2010-11 and pipped Gujarat, whose spending was Rs 46.35 crore out of the total allocation of Rs 55.27 crore. According to official data, a total of Rs 800 crore was released to states in 2011-12, but only Rs 215.81 crore was utilised, leaving 73 per cent of the funds unutilised. In 2010-11, Rs 1,224.63 crore was allotted, while the spending was Rs 930.98 crore, which was 76 per cent of the total allocation.
In the last fiscal, Rs 300 crore was released, and the data on utilisation is expected only by next April. The Government in February had decided to give over Rs 12,378 crore additional funds to states in next five years, which is 20 per cent more than what the states got during 2007-12 plan period.

Senior police officials, however, defended the non-utilisation of funds, saying that it is a lengthy and cumbersome process. “It is easy to accuse states of not properly using funds. One has to understand that there are many technical issues in MPF.

“The officer has to have the technical knowledge to implement it, and unfortunately we have a problem there. Then, the procurement has to be done under the stringent guidelines of Central Vigilance Commission, which is lengthy and leads to re-tendering in a number of cases. Also another problem is the unavailability of qualified vendors,” said a senior official.

A report prepared by Ernst and Young had said that though the utilisation of funds under MPF scheme is low in many states, the state governments are actively utilising the funds provided under other central schemes.

Quoting a 2011 report by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy for the Planning Commission, it said that the utilisation under Indira Awaas Yojna was 153.9 per cent and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna 111.4 per cent, while the MPF utilisation was a meagre 26 per cent.

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