The monsoon session of the Assembly got off to a sleepy start for JVM MLA Samresh Singh. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Aug. 31: Jharkhand government today tabled the first supplementary budget of Rs 411.07 crore with provisions of over Rs 100 crore to pay electricity bills owed by various state buildings and funds to refurbish VIP structures on Day 1 of the monsoon session of the Assembly.
The state government has allocated Rs 10 crore to pay salaries of newly appointed 1,233 Plus Two teachers while Rs 40 crore will be utilised for paying pension arrears to various categories of staff.
Finance secretary Sukhdev Singh told The Telegraph the first supplementary budget was need-based. “It is a small sum, which means that the annual budget was almost up to the mark,” he added.
The Rs 411.07 crore sum comprises Rs 218.73 crore under the Plan head (for development) and Rs 166.41 crore under non-Plan (establishment cost, salary, etc). The rest of the funds have been provided for centrally sponsored schemes.
If the government has allocated funds to pay its obligations, it has also sought funds to renovate the toilets of VIPs in important buildings and equip the Assembly guesthouse with new air conditioners and LCD screens.
The budget details suggest that the government has sought funds to the tune of Rs 75 lakh to renovate toilets in various VIP structures including the Jharkhand High Court main building and its residential premises and the residences of the chief minister, ministers and MLAs.
It has allocated another Rs 70 lakh for repairing, maintenance and furnishing of other government buildings.
Guests in the state Assembly will also be assured of cool comfort in the summer capital of erstwhile Bihar. The government has sought Rs 18 lakh to replace the air conditioners and TVs in all 33 rooms of the Assembly guesthouse.
According to sources, the air conditioners of around half a dozen rooms are out of order, but the Assembly secretariat has decided to install new window AC and LCD television in the 33 rooms.
The government has also sought Rs 7 lakh as travel expenses for the officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister at Jharkhand Bhavan for travelling from Delhi to Ranchi. K.N. Chaubey and Anjani Kumar are posted as OSDs at Jharkhand Bhavan.
The government had allocated Rs 5 lakh in the original budget in this regard and justified the additional travel expenses for the OSD stating that the resident commissioner, Bimal Kirti Singh, happens to be in additional charge of energy secretary in Ranchi.
The house owners who had rented out their premises to the government to run hospitals and health centres may get some relief, as the government has provided Rs 17.30 lakh to pay rent that had been due before November 15, 2000, i.e. creation of Jharkhand.
Jharkhand’s annual budget for 2012-13 was pegged at Rs 37,113 crore with a focus on building roads, irrigation, education and energy facilities.
Of the total budget, Rs 18,709 crore and Rs 18,404 crore have been allocated for plan (development) and non-plan (salary etc) expenditure respectively. The plan budget includes central assistance of Rs 2,409 crore.
The finance secretary said, “We have to bear the net extra burden of Rs 164.57 crore, as the rest of the funds have been secured through a readjustment of the unutilised funds of various departments.”
Incidentally, the Planning Commission had patted the government on financial management at a meeting on August 6 after chief minister Arjun Munda managed to convince deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that his “poor” state deserved assistance since it had been denied benefits of a special package, ŕ la Uttar Pradesh.