RS 856 CR LOST DUE TO STATE’S INABILITY
RS 856 CR LOST DUE TO STATE’S INABILITY TO CASH IN ON GRANTS
Chandigarh August 6:
A report prepared by the Planning Department has attributed net loss of a whopping Rs 856 crore to the state government's inability to secure Central grant under various schemes during the last fiscal. The report has been submitted to Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.
Interestingly, the Finance Department (FD) has expressed its reservations on the report, saying that many of the indicators were "notional" and do not reflect the actual picture. Notwithstanding the counter-claim by the FD that the amount is substantially less, the note for the Chief Secretary has brought to fore the list of various departments which have mounted the loss.
Top on the chart is the Rural Development Department, which lost an estimated Rs 254-crore Central funds. Rural Water Supply, Agriculture, Medical Public Health, Urban Development, General Education, Tourism, Cooperation and Animal Husbandry also figure prominently in the list.
Some of the departments drew a complete blank, when it came to getting funds from the Centre. The state gets funds from the Centre under two types of schemes, one in which it has to contribute a matching grant and the other which are 100 per cent sponsored. The total loss of Rs 856 crore includes both the schemes.
In many of the sharable schemes, the state failed to release the matching grants on time. There were other lapses on part of the state, which increased the gap of funds to be realised from the Centre when it came to wholly-sponsored schemes. During the recent meetings held on the issue, heads of various departments contested the claims of the Planning Department, arguing they were "irrational". They said the anticipated projections of Central funds by the Planning Department were on the higher side, which had widened the gap.
The problem arose when departments concerned acted in a carefree manner in presenting the case for receipt of funds to the FD. Official sources said the Chief Secretary has now directed all departments to move cases for Central funds at the earliest so that the FD can clear them for releasing the state's matching grant. Singh has also insisted that certain departments, including Technical Education, Rural Development, Agriculture and Local Government, which have greater scope for Central funds, must act promptly.