The Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s report on the State’s finances for the financial year 2016-17, has pulled up various departments for not monitoring expenditure, making excessive supplementary provisions and increasing expenditure during the last quarter of the fiscal.

The report said, “The persistent savings indicated that the budgetary controls in the departments were not effective and previous years’ trends were not taken into account while allocating the funds for the year.”

It pointed out that the total savings were Rs. 49,072.46 crore. The budget procedure envisages that the sum provided in an estimate of expenditure on a particular item must be a sum that can be expended in the year. A saving in an estimate constitutes as much of a financial irregularity as an excess in it.

Unnecessary spending

The report pointed out that supplementary provisions aggregating Rs. 7,282.94 crore obtained in 35 cases (ahove Rs. 10 crore in each case) during the year proved unnecessary as the actual expenditure (Rs. 1,02,898.06 crore) did not come up to the level of the original provision (Rs. 1,18,287.34 crore).

Non-submission of Utilisation Certificates (38,884) amounting to Rs. 60,321.78 crore as on March 31, 2017 indicated absence of proper monitoring by the departments in utilisation of grants sanctioned for specific purposes.

The report observed, “There was a rush of expenditure [51% to 100%] during the last quarter of 2016-17 and a substantial portion of it was spent during the last month of the financial year. In some cases, there was persistent saving of more than Rs. 100 crore in each case during the last five years in respect of grants pertaining mainly to the Finance Department, Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, Public Works Department, indicating that either the provisions were excessive or the executive was not successful in implementing the legislative aspirations.”

While acknowledging that the State has managed its fiscal deficit within the limits set under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management Act, the report has pointed out that the State’s capital expenditure of 12% during 2016-17 was less than the original budget estimates of 2016-17 by Rs. 5,457 crore, which comes up to 18%.

Poor returns

“The average return on the State government’s investment in Government Companies, Joint Stock Companies and Partnerships and Statutory Corporations etc., was 0.04% during 2012-17, while the government paid an average interest rate of 7.6 % on its borrowings during the same period,” said the report, asking the government to ensure better value for money in investments.

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