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Increasing expenditure cause of concern: Sarma

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GUWAHATI, July 29 - Increasing trend in the State�s committed expenditure towards salary and pension, including pension liabilities of the Assam State Electricity Board, coupled with the greater establishment expenditure due to the expanding size of the government, like for setting up of new colleges and medical institutions, will continue to fuel the increase in revenue expenditure and that is a cause of concern.

Presenting the �Expenditure & Receipt (Provisional) Statement� of the finance department for the 2018-19 financial year or the Outcome Budget in the Assembly today, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said expanding growth momentum in the expenditure pattern, coupled with strain in own source of revenue collection, may force the State to borrow more to meet the expenditure commitments.

�Overall, the continuous increase in establishment expenditure, coupled with the expansion in capital expenditure against limited growth in own tax buoyancy and slow increase in the Government of India transfers, are emerging as concerns in the expenditure management for the State,� Sarma said.

As per the Outcome Budget, total utilisation of the budget allocation stood at 65 per cent. The expenditure utilisation stood at Rs 70,658 crore as against the budget amount of Rs 108,490 crore in 2018-19. The utilisation rate of revenue expenditure stood at 69 per cent as against only 54 per cent for capital expenditure.

The minister said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in the Finance Accounts for 2017-18, observed that 9,370 utilisation certificates (UCs) relating to the period 2001-02 and 2016-17 had not been submitted.

�Finance department has taken full cognizance of this fact and conducted a series of meetings with the various departments to address the issue of outstanding UCs which has helped to bring down the number of pending UCs in 2016-17... It may be noted that substantial numbers of outstanding UCs relate to fund releases to various urban local bodies (ULBs) and municipalities and to the MLALAD/Untied Funds scheme, implementation of which are at various stages and the same is being pursued,� Sarma said. He added that the CAG has credited the State government for a 40 per cent growth in the capital expenditure in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.

Sarma said that the finance department has been playing a proactive and facilitative role in ensuring that all announcements and schemes are implemented in a time-bound manner. Giving details regarding department-wise expenditure in 2018-19, he said overall utilisation of all departments is 65 per cent.

Among major departments, the utilisation rate of the finance department is 57 per cent, while it stands at 102 per cent for pension and public grievances, 80 per cent for education (elementary), 75 per cent for public works (roads), 63 per cent for health and family welfare, 82 per cent for education (secondary), 72 per cent for home, 96 per cent for hill areas, 78 per cent for education (higher), 33 per cent for panchayat and rural development, 53 per cent for public health engineering, 31 per cent for power (electricity), 58 per cent for social welfare, 44 per cent for agriculture, 74 per cent for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, 30 per cent for urban development, 51 per cent for industries and commerce and 69 per cent for environment and forest, among others.

�...spending under our government has set new benchmarks each year, crossing Rs 50,000-crore mark for the first time in 2016-17, crossing the Rs 60,000-crore mark in 2017-18 and crossing the Rs 70,000-crore mark in 2018-19 (provisional estimates),� Sarma said, adding that significant progress has been made in implementation of the State�s flagship schemes as well as of the centrally-sponsored ones.

The minister said that a �prudent debt management strategy� was adopted during 2018-19 to raise market borrowings at the lowest possible cost. He also added that all oil royalty arrears, amounting to Rs 7,746.69 crore, have been received by the State government from the Centre in tranches.

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Increasing expenditure cause of concern: Sarma

GUWAHATI, July 29 - Increasing trend in the State�s committed expenditure towards salary and pension, including pension liabilities of the Assam State Electricity Board, coupled with the greater establishment expenditure due to the expanding size of the government, like for setting up of new colleges and medical institutions, will continue to fuel the increase in revenue expenditure and that is a cause of concern.

Presenting the �Expenditure & Receipt (Provisional) Statement� of the finance department for the 2018-19 financial year or the Outcome Budget in the Assembly today, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said expanding growth momentum in the expenditure pattern, coupled with strain in own source of revenue collection, may force the State to borrow more to meet the expenditure commitments.

�Overall, the continuous increase in establishment expenditure, coupled with the expansion in capital expenditure against limited growth in own tax buoyancy and slow increase in the Government of India transfers, are emerging as concerns in the expenditure management for the State,� Sarma said.

As per the Outcome Budget, total utilisation of the budget allocation stood at 65 per cent. The expenditure utilisation stood at Rs 70,658 crore as against the budget amount of Rs 108,490 crore in 2018-19. The utilisation rate of revenue expenditure stood at 69 per cent as against only 54 per cent for capital expenditure.

The minister said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in the Finance Accounts for 2017-18, observed that 9,370 utilisation certificates (UCs) relating to the period 2001-02 and 2016-17 had not been submitted.

�Finance department has taken full cognizance of this fact and conducted a series of meetings with the various departments to address the issue of outstanding UCs which has helped to bring down the number of pending UCs in 2016-17... It may be noted that substantial numbers of outstanding UCs relate to fund releases to various urban local bodies (ULBs) and municipalities and to the MLALAD/Untied Funds scheme, implementation of which are at various stages and the same is being pursued,� Sarma said. He added that the CAG has credited the State government for a 40 per cent growth in the capital expenditure in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.

Sarma said that the finance department has been playing a proactive and facilitative role in ensuring that all announcements and schemes are implemented in a time-bound manner. Giving details regarding department-wise expenditure in 2018-19, he said overall utilisation of all departments is 65 per cent.

Among major departments, the utilisation rate of the finance department is 57 per cent, while it stands at 102 per cent for pension and public grievances, 80 per cent for education (elementary), 75 per cent for public works (roads), 63 per cent for health and family welfare, 82 per cent for education (secondary), 72 per cent for home, 96 per cent for hill areas, 78 per cent for education (higher), 33 per cent for panchayat and rural development, 53 per cent for public health engineering, 31 per cent for power (electricity), 58 per cent for social welfare, 44 per cent for agriculture, 74 per cent for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, 30 per cent for urban development, 51 per cent for industries and commerce and 69 per cent for environment and forest, among others.

�...spending under our government has set new benchmarks each year, crossing Rs 50,000-crore mark for the first time in 2016-17, crossing the Rs 60,000-crore mark in 2017-18 and crossing the Rs 70,000-crore mark in 2018-19 (provisional estimates),� Sarma said, adding that significant progress has been made in implementation of the State�s flagship schemes as well as of the centrally-sponsored ones.

The minister said that a �prudent debt management strategy� was adopted during 2018-19 to raise market borrowings at the lowest possible cost. He also added that all oil royalty arrears, amounting to Rs 7,746.69 crore, have been received by the State government from the Centre in tranches.

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