As this year's financial year comes to a close today, there is a frenzy of activity (especially in government offices) to spend the money that is left over. It is a bane of the Indian system that if the alloted money is not spent by the financial year, then the next year's budget is reduced by this amount and the amount unspent this year is not carried over. Many funding agencies for research also use this policy. This leads to a mad rush to spend the money even if there is no need to buy the material. The private vendors know this well and try to push unwanted things through because one wants to utilize the money. Thus, the funding agencies should seriously consider carry over the funds to the next year if the funds are underutilized this year.
One may wonder why India's financial year closes on March 31 and not Dec 31. The Income-Tax Act was enacted in 1961. The Act came into force from April 1, 1962 and that's why our financial year begins on April 1 every year. Further, as India is an agricultural economy, revenue generally depends on the unpredictable outcome of the harvest in Feb and thus March is a good time to close the accounts.
On a personal note, it also closes out a very busy month for me as all contracts right from library books, journals, toilet cleaning, security to garbage pickup etc etc. have been signed. It is also a time for me to contemplate on what I am doing as I complete twelve years in IISc on Monday. This process of self-exploration may appear a little lame, but this is the foundation of living. When one takes time to evaluate one's own strengths and weaknesses, attitude to life, passion to work etc., one gets a truer sense of what's really good for us. Ultimately, though it has to be something that meets our financial, professional and personal needs, it is more important to be happy with what one has and what one does.