March 2016 News

State Under Rs 8,000 Crore Burden Ahead Of Budget

10 March 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amit Khajuria

Jammu: The PDP-BJP government had created a structural liability of Rs 8,000 crore in the last financial year, making the task enormously difficult for the 2016-17 Budget. In the Budget presented by then Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on March 22 last year, Rs 4,336 crore was marked under unfunded or additional resources required by using the additional line 'to be financed through prepositioning of 14th Finance Commission grants', which was not done during the tenure of the PDP-BJP government and was technically impossible as per financial experts. The Finance Department not only created a deficit of Rs 4,336 crore in the annual budget estimates, but later, in the revised Budget, a further liability of Rs 3,671 crore was added in the deficit by increasing the total estimated disbursement from Rs 53,590 crore to Rs 57,646 crore. The estimated receipts were increased from Rs 49,254 crore to Rs 53,975 in September 2015. The total liability of Rs 8,007 crore will put an extra burden on the state as the state government has to carry forward this liability to the next financial year. A financial expert said, 'Putting the state into liability by using the term 'to be financed through prepositioning of 14th Finance Commission grants' is against financial propriety. The Finance Commission grants cannot be prepositioned as the Government of India has fixed funds allotted to every state of the country.' 'It seems that the PDP-BJP coalition wanted to exploit and misuse proximity with the Centre by using the term prepositioning, which is never allowed,' added the expert. Economists believed that the government could have decreased the estimated expenditure of different departments of the state during the Revised Estimates, but rather than cutting down on expenditure, the government increased it to Rs 3,671 crore. It is expected that the state government will present another deficit Budget on March 15 as the state is already under a deficit of Rs 8,007 crore.