GUWAHATI, July 31 - Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today claimed that the number of pending utilisation certificates (UCs) has come down as compared to previous years and the State government is keen on setting a �gold standard� in the country by bringing the number to zero.
Till 2015-16, the number of pending UCs was 8,551. But the number of pending UCs for the year 2016-17 � the first financial year of the BJP-led government � is currently around 550. Of the 550 pending UCs, most are related to local bodies, BTC, Untied Fund and Social Welfare department, etc., the minister informed the Assembly.
He said if the pending UCs of the MLAD funds (2016-17) are not submitted in the next one and half month�s time, the schemes may be foreclosed. �The DCs will submit the UCs for the amounts spent. The remaining amounts may be re-sanctioned later,� he said.
He also cautioned the Social Welfare department that the government may not release further funds if the pending UCs of 2016-17 are not submitted.
�The government is taking these steps to set a standard in the country. I hope someone will bring the question in the Assembly next year on this issue, and I will proudly reply that all UCs for the year 2016-17 have been submitted � which will be a first in the State�s history,� he said.
Setting aside the scrutiny in the recent CAG report, the minister said the State was on right track. �No one is seeing the positive things. The CAG is questioning the excess expenditure, but we have brought down the figure from Rs 1,348 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 168 crore in 2017-18. The excess expenditure was incurred on only one count related to BTAD,� he claimed.
Sarma said that Budget expenditure in the State has increased from 51 per cent to around 70 per cent. He also said that the capital expenditure in the State has increased considerably.
Earlier, citing the recent CAG report, Congress MLA Ajanta Neog criticised the Finance department on different counts � rush of expenditure in the year-end, �unrealistic budget�, �unfulfilled promises� and excess expenditure on committed liabilities like salaries.