Thursday, April 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

HP ministry quits for reshuffle
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 19 — In a sudden development, all ministers of the BJP-HVC combine government headed by Mr P.K. Dhumal submitted their resignations to enable the Chief Minister recast his Council of Ministers.

The surprise development came at a meeting of the legislature party of the BJP soon after the Vidhan Sabha was adjourned sine die today.

All 20 ministers, including nine of the Cabinet rank and 11 Ministers of State, submitted their resignations to Mr Dhumal.

It is learnt that the three Parliamentary Secretaries and chairmen and vice-chairmen of various boards and corporations also resigned.

There was speculation regarding the reshuffle for the past sometime and Mr Dhumal had told his confidants of the move after the Budget session of the Assembly. However, the move came soon after conclusion of the session.

Sources said Mr Dhumal might recast his ministry within a day or two.

The proposal for submission of resignations by ministers was moved at the legislature party meeting by Mr Rajan Sushant, Minister of State for Revenue, and endorsed unanimously by all members.

It is likely that Mr Dhumal may cut the size of his ministry as he has come under criticism for having formed a bigger team than even that of the previous Congress government.

Moreover, Mr Sukh Ram, chief of the HVC, alliance partner of the BJP, has been demanding action against the PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, who has been suspended from the party by him on charges of indiscipline.

Mr Dhumal was also being criticised for having made a large number of chairmen and vice-chairmen of boards and corporations on whom a huge amount was being spent lavishly.


CAG pulls up HP Govt
Irregular diversion of loans
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 19 — The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has taken serious note of the irregular diversion of loans raised by the Himachal Pradesh government through statutory corporations and government companies towards reducing the overdrafts and way and means advances.

In his report the CAG has pointed out that the financial position, including the liabilities of the government were actually much worse as the government resorted to using the loans to reduce the overdrafts and ways and means advances.

The report of the CAG for the year which ended on March 1999 was tabled in the Vidhan Sabha today by the Chief Minister, Mr.P.K.Dhumal.

The CAG has said that the deficits also would have been much more but for the extra funds obtained in this irregular way. Hence the vulnerability of the government to external sources of finance was much more than appeared from the accounts.

It has also taken a serious view of expenditure of over Rs 5679 crore by the state government without getting it regularised from the legislature which was in violation of Article 205 of the Constitution.

The report has pointed out that a falling balance from current revenues (BCR) and negligible return on investments has adversely affected the sustainability of the state’s finances. Stagnant tax ratio has made the situation worse. Resultantly, the government had to take recourse to increased borrowings, thereby raising its indebtedness.

The liabilities of the government grew by 32 percent during 1998-99 as compared to 1997-98 mainly as a result of very high growth of 133 per cent deficit on the government account which showed an overall deterioration in the financial condition. The revenue expenditure of Rs 3334 crore exceeded the revenue receipts of Rs 2312 crore resulting in a deficit of Rs 1022 crore.

The repayment of loans by government companies, corporations, local bodies, autonomous bodies, cooperatives and non-government institutions was not steady during 1994-99 as a result of which the closing balance of these loans increased by 70 per cent.

The growth of internal debt of the state government during 1994-99 was 207 per cent, in loans and advances from the centre 110 per cent and in other liabilities 145 percent. The government could not maintain the minimum cash balance with the Reserve Bank of India on 257 days and obtained ways and means advances of Rs 565 crore on 81 days, overdraft of Rs 1725 crore on 38 days and re-discounted Treasury Bills of Rs 1532 crore on 138 days.

The CAG has pointed out that out of Rs 909.49 crore raised by the government through the HPSEB and the forest corporation during 1994-98 by bypassing the provisions of Article 293(3) of the Constitution, Rs 896.03 crore were utilised for clearing overdrafts to boost the ways and means position.

The report has pointed out various irregularities and shortcomings in implementation of the mid-day meal scheme for primary schools, public distribution system, manpower management in the health department, Gandhi Kuteer Yojna, Integrated Child Development Services, Urban Water Supply Schemes, Calamity Relief Fund and various other schemes.

It has pointed out glaring irregularities in various boards and corporations. Commenting on the functioning of the HPSEB, the report has said that the delay in execution of the Bhaba, Andhra, Gaj, Baner and Thirot power projects resulted in cost over-run of Rs 418.54 crore and loss of potential generation of 1601.83 million units valued at Rs 8.47 crore.

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