That warning letter… Hinting AP?

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The Union government warned All India Service officers of punitive action if they provided “false information” to the authorities.

T.V. Somanathan, Finance Secretary of India (Department of Expenditure) wrote letters to the chief secretaries of all the states in the country stating that providing wrong information to the authorities at the Centre would henceforth be viewed seriously.

He highlighted about an instance where one state supplied wrong information which resulted in that state to undertake heavy over borrowing during its tenure that led to deduction of such amount during the tenure of a subsequent government which caused many difficulties.

It is being suspected that the Finance Secretary had indirectly pointed out at Andhra Pradesh. Some officials at the Centre are of the opinion that Andhra Pradesh had not only provided incorrect information but even failed to provide basic data to the authorities.

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The Constitution has provision enabling states to borrow loans and the Centre also releases funds for schemes sponsored by it, under the recommendations of the Finance Commission. AIS officers play a key role in helping the Centre decide on the quantum of funds to be released to states in connection with schemes sponsored by the Centre and it is their responsibility to stick to the truth.

However, Somanathan said that the AIS officers were not sticking to the rules and providing correct and factual information to the Centre on the expenditure of the states. The officers are even required to sign certificates that they are providing factual information.

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He warned the states that the finance ministry would share the names of officers who ‘falsify information’ to the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) which could take action in connection with their promotion, inter-cadre deputation, deputation for foreign training at government cost.

He also asked the state chief secretaries to bring such instances involving officers of the central services, who are on deputation to various state governments, to the notice of the DoPT. The authorities who can control the central cadre can even recall such officers from state deputation and even can initiate disciplinary action.

The finance ministry has been seeking to clean up the schemes being implemented by the Centre and also maintain fiscal discipline.

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It may be recalled that the Centre had earlier warned government and private agencies against sanctioning loans to AP and made it clear that they can go ahead issuing loans at their own risk.

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