The Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP alliance retained power in the state last year on the promise of good, effective governance, but does not seem to have kept its word.
The state government's performance in implementation of centrally-funded flagship programmes in agriculture, energy, education, housing and irrigation sectors has been lacklustre, to put it mildly, during the 2012-13 financial year.
Of the total allocation of Rs 4,810 crore under the 16 flagship schemes of the Centre, the state could utilise only Rs 2,471 crore (about 51%) during 2012-13, according to financial performance data gathered by the planning department from various departments. The bulk of the funds have been allowed to lapse in some schemes.
Barring schemes such as the National Social Assistance Programme, Mid-day Meal, National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the state departments could not implement several planned activities and projects in other programmes or complete them in time.
The funds are allocated by central ministries and departments on the basis of project proposals and targets submitted to them by the state governments with different fund-sharing pattern between the Centre and the state for various schemes. While the bulk of the funds are given by the Centre, the state contribution ranges from zero to 50% for various programmes.
The state government's uninspiring performance comes in a year in which the ruling alliance not only trumped its rivals by notching a historic win, but several states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Karnataka ruled by BJP and other opposition parties also drew praise for their performance and efforts to meet the objectives of welfare schemes.
The SAD-BJP government had done much better in 2009-10, meeting its targets for several schemes with close to 85% utilisation of the allocated funds.
In 2012-13, the state was allocated Rs 520 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) on 50:50 fund-sharing basis for relining of the Sirhind feeder and Rajasthan feeders and some other projects, but it could utilise only 26% funds. Of the Rs 107 crore allocated under the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) for housing for below-poverty-line (BPL) families, only 16% were used by the state. Similarly, Rs 25 crore were allocated to the state under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) for the electrification of BPL households and strengthening the electricity infrastructure in rural areas, but the state could make use of only 33% of the funds. The progress under some other schemes was also considered very unsatisfactory.
Finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa told Hindustan Times that the state government had given its share for various centrally-sponsored programmes as per the approved fund-sharing pattern, but there were some implementation issues with certain schemes. "The performance will be far better in the current year (2013-14). In 2012-13, our budgeted plan expenditure was 69%. The target is to take it to more than 90%," the minister said.
Department officials attributed the state's lacklustre performance to delay in release of funds by the Centre and non-finalisation of some projects by the government departments in time.
"While the work on the two feeders involves inter-state issues and could not be started under the AIBP, the low per-unit cost and updating of BPL lists were responsible for the slow progress under the IAY. The BPL lists are being revised," an official said.
In 2013-14, the state has sought allocation of Rs 6,555 crore under the 16 flagship schemes, eyeing considerable increase in the NRHM, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Scheme Allocation Utilisation
Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme Rs 520 crore 26%
Indira Awaas Yojana Rs 107 crore 16%
Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana Rs 25 crore 33%
Figures for 2012-13