The overall utilisation of budget in Jammu and Kashmir was 20 per cent less than the total amount of Rs 1.39 lakh crore grants and appropriations during the year 2021-22, Comptroller and Auditor General of India has said, urging the government to be “more realistic” in its budgetary assumptions.
It also criticised the failure of the concerned departments to surrender the grants and appropriations to the finance department in anticipation of savings which stood at Rs 28,504.50 crore.
“The total provision for expenditure during 2021-22 was Rs 1,39,795.19 crore. The actual expenditure during the year was Rs 1,11,983.49 crore (80 per cent), resulting in savings of Rs 27,811.70 crore during 2021-22,” the CAG said in its latest report on the Union Territory Finances for the year ended March 31, 2022.
It said the budgetary allocations were based on unrealistic proposals as out of total 35 grants, in 22 grants, savings were more than Rs 100 crore in the capital section.
“During 2021-22, Rs 28,205.78 crore (31 per cent) of savings was noticed in the voted section whereas excess expenditure of Rs 394.08 crore (one per cent) was incurred in the charged section.
“Entire budget provision of Rs 5,092.25 crore under 28 Grants involving 123 number of schemes remained unutilised during the year resulting in denial of intended benefits to the general public,” the report said.
It said the supplementary provisions aggregating Rs 3,919.78 crore obtained in 22 cases, involving Rs 50 lakh or more in each case during the year proved unnecessary as the expenditure did not come up to the level of the original provisions.
“On the other hand, in grant 08-Finance Department, supplementary grant of Rs 16,057.92 crore was not adequate to meet the requirement. There were 33 grants in which savings of Rs 10 crore and above had occurred as on 31st March 2022, which included 26 grants wherein savings of Rs 100 crore and above were noticed,” it said.
The CAG said an amount of Rs 21,646.17 crore was incurred under 33 schemes/Sub Heads in 10 Grants without budgetary provisions during 2021-22.
It said the expenditure exceeding 50 per cent of the total expenditure for the year 2021-22 was incurred in March 2022 in respect of 25 major heads under 17 grants.
“The savings in grants is indicative of over budgeting which is as much a financial irregularity as excess in expenditure… Besides, excessive savings in some departments during the period is indicative of deprivation of other departments of the funds which they could have utilised and also non-surrender of funds (savings) is in contravention to the instructions of the Jammu and Kashmir Budget Manual,” it said.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Budget Manual, the CAG said the spending departments are required to surrender the grants/appropriations or portion thereof to the finance department as and when the savings are anticipated.
“Out of the 35 grants, except in Grant no. 8- Finance Department, there were savings in the remaining 34 Grants. Out of these 34 grants, there were 33 grants in which savings of Rs 10 crore and above had occurred as on 31st March 2022.
“In the case of 26 grants, the savings of Rs 100 crore and above were noticed, with the percentage savings ranging between 14 per cent and 86 per cent. However, no surrender in anticipation of savings was made by the concerned departments. The savings in these cases was Rs 28,504.50 crore,” the report said.
The report said the savings under the capital section ranged between 42 per cent and 98 per cent of the total appropriation of the grant during 2021-22.
“The savings under the Capital section indicate that the government could not utilise the funds earmarked for developmental activities/creation of assets.” In its recommendations, the CAG said the government should be more realistic in its budgetary assumptions and ensure efficient control mechanisms to curtail savings or excess expenditure.
“Excess expenditure over the approved grants may be regularised at the earliest, along with fixing responsibility for incurring excess expenditure.
“Controlling Officers need to be made aware of their responsibility to explain the variation in expenditure from the allocation to facilitate proper analysis of budget and preparation of meaningful Appropriation Accounts,” it said.
It also suggested for strengthening of financial monitoring to avoid rush of expenditure at fag end of the year.