The UT administration has suffered a major setback with a cut of Rs 160 crore in the budget for the fiscal year 2016-17.
In 2015-16, the allocated budget was Rs 860 crore as against Rs 700 crore this year. The UT administration had sought a budget of Rs 2,834 crore from the Centre but have got just Rs 700 crore as against the Rs 634 crore revised estimates last year.
The failure of the UT administration to spend even half of the plan budget — it spent only 43% — has resulted in the cut. As a result, major projects like setting up hospitals, schools, water supply augmentation and housing projects could be affected. Even the forest and science and technology departments require funds for various projects.
The below-average performance of the Chandigarh administration in 2015-16 has cost them dear. The plan head, which is used for development works, has seen a decline; as a result, important projects may be hit.
This year, under the non-plan head, Rs 2,834 crore has been sanctioned as against last year’s Rs 2,586 crore. Both are roughly 110% of last year’s final figures.
The maximum allocation has been made for the housing and urban development sector with Rs 214 crore allocated for various projects. Though in 2015-16, Rs 215 crore was allocated, the administration could spend only Rs 146 crore. In the education sector, the administration has got Rs 172 crore as against Rs 238 crore allocated last year. But the department had spent only Rs 162 crore. The heath sector has also seen a cut with the budget allocation coming down from Rs 176 crore to Rs 135 crore, though the health department fared much better on using the funds by spending Rs 167 crore.
In the energy sector, the budget has been slashed from Rs 31 crore to Rs 26 crore, as only Rs 20.5 crore was used by the department last year. The police department has got Rs 20 crore allocated instead of the Rs 17 crore sanctioned last year.
The administration claims to make Chandigarh a Smart city with transport being the major component to sort out the traffic congestion. However, there is almost 40% cut in the transport sector. Last year, the allocated budget was Rs 103 crore out of which only Rs 57 crore was spent, so the Centre has allocated only Rs 63 crore this year.
The administration had projected a plan of Rs 2,095 crore on account of a larger share for the municipal corporation of Rs 660 crore as per recommendations of the Delhi Finance Commission. The projects planned to be undertaken by the administration are expansion of the high court, flats for police and expansion of the secretariat building. Administration officials said they would spend the money efficiently and seek more funds when the exercise of revision of estimates took place in October.
ADVISER HAD PULLED UP OFFICIALS LAST YEAR
Taking a serious view of Chandigarh’s budget cut by the Centre, UT adviser Vijay Dev last year had pulled up officials and directed the heads of all departments to ensure timely completion of projects or face action.
The adviser had said that the performance assessment of the officials would be done on the basis of completion of works in their departments. The UT administration had faced a cut of over Rs 225 crore owing to its poor performance. The budget has been curtailed under the plan head by the ministry of finance. It has come down from ` 860 crore to about ` 634 crore, following performance review of the administration between April and September.
The administration had failed to get timely execution of projects and check the expenditures involved in various projects. Among the bad performers was the engineering department, which spent just about 36% of the allocated budget. The transport department also did not fare well in its performance.
The Plan budget for the city increased by 19% in 2013-14 with Rs 876.5 crore sanctioned. The maximum budget was allocated to urban development. In 2012-13, the allocated budget under the plan head was Rs 737.23 crore. Even in the 201112 budget, Chandigarh had got 47% increase in the budget and was allocated Rs 661.89 crore with major priority to education.