Centre Blocks Rs 2130 Cr Worth Funds, Re-validation Unlikely

Centre Blocks Rs 2130 Cr Worth Funds, Re-validation Unlikely

30 May 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Negotiations at top level between Centre and State political leadership notwithstanding, the Union Government and the Planning Commission of India have blocked Rs 2130 crores of the State and were reluctant to release it or re-validate it for the current financial year. Top official sources told the Excelsior that this was for the first time that the Government of India has withheld such a big amount of the State under the annual plan 2012-13, Prime Minister’s Re-construction Plan (PMRP) and Share of Central Taxes. The amount withheld by the Centre included Rs 1500 crores under annual plan, Rs 400 crores under PMRP and Rs 230 crores under Share of Central Taxes, sources said, adding that despite series of meetings of top political leadership of the State with the Union of India and bureaucratic level negotiations, the Union Government has declined to release or re-validate the funds excepting those falling in the PMRP category. The State Government had been accorded Rs 7300 crores worth annual plan during the financial year of 2012-13. However, the Planning Commission of India had released only Rs 5800 crores leading to a deficit of Rs 1500 crores. Under ‘Share of Central Taxes’ category, the State got Rs 230 crores less than the target. The Government of India had reduced the amount on the ground the collection of taxes projected by them from the States fell short of the target and, therefore, they reduced the amount of not only Jammu and Kashmir but almost all the States. Out of Rs 700 crores proposed for the State under the PMRP, the State was given only Rs 300 crores. However, the Government was not worried on the funds withheld under the PMRP as they are non-lapsable and would be extended for the current fiscal year. It may be mentioned here that the PMRP funds are extendable till the scheme existed. The Centre had recently extended the PMRP till 2015-16. Sources said top political leadership of the State as well as bureaucrats have taken up the issue of blocked funds of 2012-13 with the Union Government and the Planning Commission of India. However, there had been no encouraging response. Sources admitted that the Centre and the Planning Commission have already said no to the State leadership as far as the blocked funds of annual plan worth Rs 1500 crores and ‘Share of Central Taxes’ worth Rs 230 crores were concerned. However, they have assured that Rs 400 crores of PMRP would be extended to the current financial year in addition to Rs 600 crores more projected under it for 2013-14. Sources said if the Centre Government or the Planning Commission of India didn’t re-validate the funds of plan and ‘Share of Central Taxes’, as were the indications at present, the State would be clearly losing Rs 1730 crores worth Central funds, which would be a major setback to the State Government. “This also means that the annual plan of the State during 2012-13 was reduced to just Rs 5800 crores as against the approved allocation of Rs 7300 crores,’’ they added. It may be mentioned here that the Planning Commission had approved Rs 7300 crores worth annual plan last year but, in the end, released only Rs 5800 crores. Even during a bureaucratic level meeting of the State and the Planning Commission, the latter had offered Rs 5800 crores only even for the current year’s plan, leading to deadlock between the two and cancellation of proposed May 20 annual plan finalisation meeting between Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. However, following intervention by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh after a meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the Planning Commission has now agreed to enhance the annual plan outlay to Rs 8050 crores. However, the Centre or the Planning Commission have not agreed to re-validate the last year’s blocked funds on the ground that they stood lapsed. Sources admitted that the denial of Rs1730 crores worth funds under annual plan and ‘Share of Central Taxes’ has caused major setback to the State in the developmental works. The State had prepared the proposals of development taking Rs 7300 crores worth plan last year but ultimately it got only Rs 5800 crores. Sources, however, claimed that the State utilised its own resources like increase in tax revenue from targeted Rs 5400 crores to Rs 5900 crores, a hike of Rs 500 crores to cover up the plan deficit. But they admitted that the blocked funds were much more than increase in the State’s tax revenue by Rs 500 crores.