Updated: October 31, 2021 12:12:06 pm
The Jammu and Kashmir government has received less than 10 per cent of funds against the budgetary allocation under the Centrally sponsored schemes from the Centre in the first seven months of the current financial year.
As on October 27, as many as 25 departments of the Union Territory received just Rs 1,809 crore, which is less than 10 per cent of the CSS allocation of Rs 18,527 crore for 2021-22. Centrally sponsored schemes are largely funded by the Union government but are implemented by the states. A part of the expenditure for such schemes is borne by the states.
A dozen of these 25 departments, including that of Jal Shakti, tasked with the implementation of the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Power Development, Civil Aviation, and Information Technology, had not received any funds under the CSS till October 27.
A senior official in the J&K administration told The Sunday Express that part of the delay in receipt of funds can be attributed to the devastating second wave of Covid-19 through April and May. “A lot of this has to do with departments not picking up work in the first quarter of the financial year,” the official said.
The release of funds depends on ‘utility certificates’ for previously released funds and for some departments, on audits of previous expenditure. “For Centrally sponsored schemes, it depends upon how much you are able to move forward also. There are still five months to go in the current financial year. The departments will pick up work and spending will improve,” the official said.
Officials said spending on these schemes has historically been poor in Jammu and Kashmir. “Unlike previous years, our focus is on completion of projects in 2021-22. This will reflect in the next two quarters,” the official said.
Heads of departments The Sunday Express spoke to pointed out that for Centrally sponsored schemes such as the NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) where utility certificates are not an issue since payments are credited through Direct Benefit Transfer, “funds have been delayed”.
As per the Budget Estimate for 2021-22, the Jal Shakti Department outlay is the highest at Rs 5,477 crore. Despite an allocation of Rs 2,747.17 crore, the J&K government has not been able to draw funds from the Union government. It has an unspent balance of Rs 107 crore which, as per officials, could not be utilised fully in view of restrictions on fragmentation of tenders. “This is because of low bidding capacity of local bidders and reluctance of outside agencies to bid for works in J&K,” explained an official.
Sources in the government said the UT administration has taken measures for addressing these issues and it is expected that “unspent balance shall be utilised by next month and first instalment of funds availed from Government of India”.
A former J&K minister, who spoke to The Sunday Express on the condition of anonymity, said the figures point to a “stark shortage of funds, delays in work on the ground and leaving people’s lives in limbo.”
Meanwhile, departments with expenditure estimates of over Rs 1,000 crore, such as Health and Medical Education, School Education, Social Welfare Department, and the Public Works Department, have received 9.4 per cent, 18.6 per cent, 21 per cent and 27.4 per cent, respectively, of the target till the end of October.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.