Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last-minute rush hits expenditure priorities

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite all the talk about paucity of funds to meet development and welfare needs, last minute rush to spend amounts allocated in the budget continues to be a bane of the State government.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, more than 50 per cent of the expenditure under several heads is now being incurred either during the last quarter or, worse, in the final month of the financial year. During 2008-09, over 50 per cent of the expenditure under 34 heads of account was incurred during the last quarter or the final month. In some cases, this came to 100 per cent of the funds sanctioned under certain heads, says the CAG.

The worst cases are the capital outlay on urban development, investment in general financial and trading institutions, loans for power projects and loans for chemical and pharmaceutical industries (all 100 per cent), loans for housing (99 per cent), land reforms (97), loans for fisheries (96), social security and welfare (90) and other capital outlay on industries and minerals (87 per cent).

In several other cases, the rush of expenditure was quite high. The most glaring among these is the claim for 76 per cent of the funds allotted under capital outlay on water supply and sanitation and that for 67 per cent of the funds under capital outlay on welfare of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in March, 2009.

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