Monthly Targets To Avoid Lapses And Under-Utilization Of Annual Plan24 January 2010
Srinagar: With little over two months left for the state government to ensure full utilization of the Rs 5,500 crore annual plan for the current fiscal, the authorities have set up monthly targets besides deciding to clear pending liabilities to avoid any fund lapses. The process has been set in motion following a report by Greater Kashmir that a meagre 27 percent of the plan allocation was spent in the past eight months even as the government claimed that more than 41 percent expenditure was booked in three quarters (nine months). Officials sources said government had set up a target of Rs 900 crore for this month including both capital and revenue expenditure. “The target for February is Rs 1,100 crore expenditure while it is Rs 1,200 crore for March. However the overall target may fall short by Rs 400 crore. It is a routine practice as cent percent plan expenditure is not possible,” officials said. “We are expecting almost 90 percent expenditure by the end of this fiscal.” The government would also be setting targets in different government sectors like Health, Education, Public Heath Engineering and Agriculture. Importantly, the process would involve going for consolidation in the sectors rather than expansion as it would help clearing the pending liabilities from the state share. Besides, the government would try to ensure completion of the ongoing works as it would help avoid fund lapses, officials said. Citing an example the officials said there was more than Rs 150 crore balance pending in the state sector for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. “The balance will be released. Likewise government will be releasing Rs 30 crore for land acquisition under NABARD and clearing the pending liabilities of preceding years worth crores of rupees under different centrally sponsored schemes to ensure optimum fund utilization,” he said. Sources said the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who is also holding the Planning portfolio, had directed the authorities concerned to ensure that the allotted funds were fully utilized. To speed up the fund utilization, the chief minister would be reviewing the progress of the execution of district plans at the marathon District Development Board meetings from later this month. The entire exercise would be completed ahead of the budget session so as to ensure completion of the ongoing projects. The District Development Commissioners would be providing the status report of the under construction projects within their jurisdiction. Sources said in a bid to achieve the set targets, the Commissioner-Secretary, Planning had got installed video-conferencing facility at his secretariat office in Jammu wherefrom he remains in constant touch with the District Development Commissioners and officials from different departments to seek regular update about the expenses and the problems, if any, faced in release of funds. “It (full utilization of the plan) is a major challenge for the government given the fact that it has to ensure expenditure of around Rs 3,000 crore in the last quarter,” said an official of the Planning department. The under-utilization of the plan allocation has been the consistent problem with the state government. Last year more than Rs 1000 crore of the Rs 4500 crore plan had remained unspent. However, officials assert that the plan utilization has been going on at a good pace in different sectors like Rural Development, Public Works and others while there are problem in some departments regarding utilization. “We are waiting for release of loan under AIDP from center in PHE sector. Like wise more than Rs 200 crore and Rs 47 crore loan is awaiting disbursement from LIC for power and PHE sectors respectively though work has been going on in these areas,” they said. About fund utilization in social sector, officials said the bills on different ongoing works are usually released by the end of January, which ultimately shoot up the expenditure.