Even as uncertainty prevails over the funds allocation function of NITI Aayog, the Himachal Pradesh government likely to propose its annual plan outlay of Rs 4,800 crore, an increase of over 8% over the previous outlay. For fiscal 2014-15 the state had fixed the outlay at Rs 4,400 crore.
The state has prepared the annual plan for the next fiscal and is also anticipating support from the central government following the latter's move to replace the Planning Commission with a new body, NITI Aayog. However, confusion still prevails over funds allocation. Earlier, the Planning Commission had powers to decide allocation of government funds for various programmes at the national and state levels, but this time the government is yet to clear the air over this sector.
Major worries of small states including is that the plan panel had discretionary powers on release of funds to states under centrally funded schemes. "When the state required additional funds for centrally sponsored scheme, planning commission had allocated the amount but now no one has the discretion to allocate funds," a state planning department official said.
"Himachal Pradesh had an annual plan outlay of Rs 4,400 crore for FY2014-15 while for the next fiscal (2015-16) the outlay will be Rs 4,800 crore, a rise of around 8%," a finance official said. The state is waiting for the report of 14th finance commission and anticipating aid amounting to over 40,000 crore, while the 13th finance commission gave Rs 21,691 crore of which the state's share in central taxes was Rs 11,327 crore.
For the current fiscal Himachal had sought Rs 2,600 crore from the central government against which the state received only Rs 1,350 crore and, since there was no platform after the plan panel was scrapped to plead its case, the state could not get additional grants. Even major schemes like NREGA are facing an acute fiscal crunch as the state received less than half of the funds that were sought. The Rs 1,350 crore funds included special plan assistance of Rs 500 crore and special central assistance of Rs 850 crore.
The state's budget for the current fiscal 2014-15 was Rs 23,613 crore out of which the salaries accounted for over Rs 9,000 crore, pensions over Rs 3,500 and about Rs 4,500 crore for loan and interest repayment. The plan which was Rs 4,100 crore for fiscal 2013-2014 was increased to Rs 4,400 crore for the current fiscal while the debt burden has crossed the Rs 3,300 crore mark and the state's own revenue was over Rs 5,500 crore only.
The state's plan of Rs 4,400 crore for 2014-15 comprised of Rs 648.32 crore for power, Rs 817.09 crore for transport, Rs 355.28 crore for water supply, Rs 582.55 crore for education, Rs 539.20 for agriculture, Rs 248.62 for irrigation and flood control, Rs 279.65 crore for medical, Rs 192.89 crore for rural development and rest amount was for miscellaneous sector.