Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maharashtra has not used most funds for modernization of police

MUMBAI: State home minister R R Patil's claim on Tuesday that his government had utilized most funds from the Centre for modernization of the police force is hollow.

Union minister of state for home Mullappally Ramachandran, responding to a question raised by Congress member Ambika Soni in the Rajya Sabha on May 8, submitted that Maharashtra was among the 10-odd states that has not utilized the funds. Soni had sought information on the release of financial aid to state governments for modernization of state police forces, total funds granted, released and utilized during each of the last three years and whether the Centre had received requests from state governments to sanction additional funds for modernization in view of increased terrorist activities in the country.

Ramachandran had said that the Centre had been releasing funds for the construction of police stations, outposts, barracks, police lines, residential quarters for lower and upper subordinate police personnel, procurement of vehicles, communication and security equipment, modern weaponry and creation of training facilities. Last year, special funds were released to some states, including Maharashtra, to acquire vehicles, weapons and equipment. "Based on fund availability and on assessment of needs, additional funds have been released to state governments out of the contingency reserve fund of the modernization,'' he said.

The Centre had released Rs 42.26 crore to the state, out of which it utilized Rs 35.30 crore in 2010-11, as per the statement tabled in Parliament, while in 2011-12, out of Rs 64.72 crore released, the entire amount was not utilized. For 2012-13, the Centre released Rs 29.63 crore, but no information has been submitted to the Centre on utilization. In addition, the Centre released Rs 5 crore in 2012-13 for purchase of vehicles, communication equipment, and weapons and equipment to fight anti-national operations.

A senior bureaucrat said replies to questions in Parliament are given on the basis of information submitted by the state government. "When the issue was raised in Parliament, information was sought from the state home department on utilization of modernization funds and the reply was based on that information. If the state government did not provide specific information, the Centre assumed that the state did not utilize the funds. We have no option but to accept the reply,'' he said. Even the comptroller and auditor general ( CAG) had passed strictures against the state home department for non-utilization of funds.

Patil was unable to furnish specific details of utilization of funds and senior home department bureaucrats were unable to explain it.