In an internal meeting of the monitoring committee,constituted to review the budget expenditure of the Delhi Development Authority,it emerged that most departments were grossly underperforming.
While most bodies,such as the Public Works Department,revise their budget estimates anticipating an increase in the actual expenditure,the DDA had to reduce its estimates during each quarter as prescribed targets were not being met.
According to the minutes of the meeting (Newsline has a copy) held in September 2008,the finance member of the DDA,Nand Lal,had said: We are meeting among ourselves to discuss the huge gap between revised estimates and actuals for the year 2007-2008. In attendance were Chief Engineers of all zones and several account officers of the DDA.
For construction of houses and shops,a provision of Rs 497 crore was kept in the Budget Estimate of 2007-2008,which was subsequently revised to Rs 188.74 crore in the Revised Estimate,2007-2008; the actual expenditure till March 2008 was Rs 121.82 crore. The shortfall indicates that the revised targets have not been met, Lal had said at the meeting.
The same trend was observed in the land development sector,where an initial provision of Rs 805.80 crore was revised to Rs 561.94 crore,while the actual expenditure was only Rs 441.74 crore.
It was pointed out in the meeting that normally the provision proposed in the revised budget estimates should be on higher side,but in the DDAs revised budget estimates,the provisions are decreased and are generally less than original budget estimates.
According to Lal,this was the case because when the budget estimates were being prepared at the zonal level,the actual requirement was not correctly projected,leading to higher estimates.
Interestingly,engineering member B K Chugh had pointed out that while meeting targets related to building flyovers and tunnels can prove to be difficult,there was no reason why this should be the case as far as constructing houses was concerned.
To counter this disparity between budget estimates and targets,now all Chief Engineers at the DDA have been advised to adopt the norms of expenditure prevalent in PWD and CPWD and spend whatever expenditure they project in the budget.
Further,they have been asked to ensure a realistic projection of expenditure so that targets do not remain merely on paper.