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...The beginning of the month saw 77 children die at a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur. Merely a few days later, the Bihar government ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged diversion of Rs700 crore of public funds from the bank account of the district magistrate by Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Ltd, a non-government organization in Bhagalpur. At first, these events seem unrelated, but they are both a result of India’s broken public finance management systems. While one resulted in a tragedy, the other constituted a diversion of funds from crucial social welfare schemes for the poor. It is easy to dismiss Bihar and UP as outliers and blame the crises on weak state capacity, poverty or even corruption. What we saw in UP and Bihar is part of a much wider malaise that plagues public finance management systems in India. In fact, no state in India or even the government of India is immune from what happened in Gorakhpur or Bhagalpur. ...Live Mint on Aug. 25, 2017, 12:40 a.m.