Given the poor state of Maharashtra’s finances, the state finance department has cracked the whip, asking all departments to route any proposal or scheme that has financial implications through it first before seeking approval or putting up a file for a nod from the authorities.
The government order issued on Wednesday is unlikely to go down well with other departments, who find the finance department’s shadow on all their schemes unnecessary. The order has said that not presenting proposals for scrutiny of the finance department can be seen as a violation of the existing Maharashtra Work Rules.
It has quoted and recirculated an earlier 1992 government resolution and a court order in the Balkalyani School versus Maharashtra government to stress its point of view.
The 1992 resolution had stated that it was incumbent on every secretary of the department to first discuss and clear any proposal that has financial implications with the finance department first.
The Balkayani School versus Maharashtra government refers to a case that had challenged the allotment of a plot by the revenue department for the setting up of a co-operative housing society for bureaucrats.
The file for the allotment was moved to the finance department after the letter of intent had already been given to the society. The high court had in its judgment questioned why there was no prior consultation with the finance department. The present order states that such decisions can then be rendered as illegal by the court.
With the revenue deficit of the government slated to go beyond Rs 5,000 crore this year and an indirect 20% cut on development spending, the finance department is being more tight-fisted than usual, said a senior government official.
The latest tiff over money between the finance department and social justice department was over buying the house that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had stayed in London in the 1920s.