Even as the state government gets ready for its annual budget to be presented on March 26, promising you various development policies and schemes, there’s a good chance that many of these policies will remain on paper.
If past experience is anything to go by, the government doesn’t have the wherewithal to spend the budgeted amounts.
In 2011-12, the state government failed to spend nearly 50% of its planned expenditure on development schemes and policies.
As on February 21, the state’s various departments have been able to utilise only Rs 22,511 crore of the budgeted Rs 50,888 crore. Out of the total budgeted amount, around Rs 38,662 crore was released to the departments for expenditure on schemes outlined in last year’s budget. The total expenditure works out to 57% of the released funds.
Some of the departments, that have shown poor expenditure capacity, include revenue department, housing, food and civil supplies, urban development II where expenditure is less than 40%. Schemes such as modernisation of land records, the Rajiv Gandhi Awaas Yojana, medical health education plans and police modernisation plans have been waylaid due to poor expenditure.
One of the biggest reasons for slow expenditure is the pace of work done in the state secretariat.
“Every year, the finance department is blamed for not releasing funds on time. This time we have already released 75% of the budgeted amount, yet departments have failed to utilise the money,” said a senior bureaucrat from the finance department.
Typically, in a rush to use the funds, departments utilise a substantial 20% to 30% of pending funds within a month, failing to keep a quality control check on the money spent.
But, this year, with revenues from realty being sluggish and government far behind in its revenue target, the budgeted money is unlikely to be spent.
The finance department had recommended a 20% cut in the development budget in December, estimating poor revenues and global slowdown.