Chief minister Harish Rawat will approach “elder brother” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday with a request for release of `1,768-crore funds pending with the Centre since the 14th finance commission recommendations came into effect last fiscal.
The Rawat regime has kept its fingers crossed although sources say the BJP-led Centre may not release the funds as it aims to weaken the Congress in the state where the assembly polls are scheduled in 2017.
“What will a younger brother do if the elder brother won’t oblige? Well, we will try and generate our own resources,” Rawat told reporters on Monday.
The non-clearance of central funds has led to a political slugfest between the Congress government in the state and the NDA regime at the Centre. While Rawat accuses the Modi government of ignoring Uttarakhand, the BJP leaders claim the Centre has released surplus funds for the mountain state.
Officials, however, say smooth inflow of central funds may not be possible thanks to the financial indiscipline on part of the Rawat government.
Officials are working overnight to convince the Centre how the non-release of funds had badly affected the state’s development.
“We are very busy right now as we are working on it,” secretary in-charge, finance, Dilip Jawalkar told HT.
Officials in the finance department said the state suffered due to the change in the funding pattern the Centre brought about with the finance commission’s recommendations.
As per these recommendations, the state’s share in the central tax revenue was increased from 32% to 42%. Conversely, the Centre stopped releasing the crucial funds for the state under three heads -- Normal Central Assistance, Special Project Assistance and Special Central Assistance.
Officials said the political rivalry was not the only reason that prompted the Centre to stop releasing the non-plan funds.
“The state government’s failure to provide utilisation certificates against the funds spent on the infrastructure-related projects was another reason,” an official said.
He attributed the lacuna to the “complete lack of coordination between the officials and the politicians in power here, their lack of vision and their undue emphasis on populist schemes.”
State finance minister Indira Hridayesh said the Centre should release the funds meant for the state. “We hope that there will be some headway in that direction following the chief minister’s meeting with Modiji,” she told HT.