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Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 12:52 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 12:52 AM (IST)

Depts’ spending way off approved budget

Lengthy fund use process, shortage of computer-literate staff to blame
Depts’ spending way off approved budget

Parvesh Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10

A total of 55 state departments have not been able to utilise their sanctioned budget till the last week of December, bringing their inefficiency to the fore. The Finance Department has directed the authorities concerned to increase the pace of work to achieve 100 per cent budget expenditure.

Sources say the Town and Country Planning Department tops the expenditure list by spending 85.7 per cent of its budget, followed by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department with 71.31 per cent.

Ayush has spent 68.92 per cent, Panchayats 57.25 per cent, Public Relations 55.75 per cent and Food and Supplies 55.29 per cent.

Asked about the low figure of expenditure from the sanctioned budget, senior officers of various departments said the budget announcement did not mean that the amount immediately came into the accounts of the departments.

The government authorities had devised a lengthy process to maintain transparency in the utilisation and release of sanctioned budget to every department.

“Gone are the days when officers took risks by sanctioning and releasing huge grants of money without the required paperwork and planning,” said a senior officer on the condition of anonymity.

“Now is the time of latest technology and RTI. No one is willing to take a chance. This is the reason many officers are unwilling to spend without proper paperwork even after release of money, which generally takes a long time,” he said.

Another senior officer claimed that all departments had been facing shortage of computer-literate young staff while older officials were unwilling to learn the computer.

This had been delaying budget expenditure as officials concerned were unable to take steps required for utilisation of budget even after receiving required sanction as there was no staff.

When contacted, Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu said the departments were very cautious in using the sanctioned budget.

“The departments first plan, then issue tenders, after which they issue work orders and finally issue bills. We have directed our departments to take the required steps in this connection,” he told The Tribune.

“Our departments are doing well. The final amounts will reflect in the coming time after the final clearance of bills for various development works,” he stated.

The much publicised campaigns to empower women and for child development had fallen flat. The Women and Child Development Department had utilised only 33.93 per cent of the sanctioned budget. The department for welfare of SCs and BCs had spent only 43.16 per cent.


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