Ranchi, March 11: Only 20 days are left in the 2012-13 fiscal, but the mere 40 per cent utilisation of the planned state budget of Rs 16,300 crore was reason enough to make governor Syed Ahmed and top bureaucrats hold a three-hour marathon meeting today about the problem of plenty.
So far, the state, which is under President’s Rule for nearly two months, has utilised only Rs 7,000 crore. Some state departments are struggling to utilise even 20 per cent of the budget allocation.
But there is another side to the story of Jharkhand’s budgetary snags that started way before the last lap of the fiscal.
Jharkhand, effectively, got only around Rs 13,000 crore out of the planned Rs 16,300 crore. Due to various bottlencks and delays, the state lost out on a sizeable amount of funds under the central assistance under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Backward Region Grants Fund, among others.
Today’s high-level meeting at Project Building, which was chaired by governor Ahmed, had adviser Madhukar Gupta, chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, deputy chairman of state planning board Debashish Gupta, additional chief secretaries A.K. Sarkar and Sudhir Prasad, all other secretaries and top officials of departments in full strength.
The meeting went on non-stop between 11am and 2pm.
Governor Ahmed also laid stress on projects related to core infrastructure areas such as roads, electricity, water supply, education and health.
Governor’s adviser Gupta — who is apparently disappointed at the poor utilisation — categorically said that bureaucrats would have to effect a turnaround in the next fiscal year.
“Officials must ensure frequent field visits and on-spot verification of different development projects in the hinterland at the very first quarter of the next fiscal year,” he is reported to have said.
Among the worst laggards is the state energy department, executing the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana or rural electrification scheme, which has been able to spend just over Rs 200 crore out of a plan outlay of Rs 1,178 crore.
Water resources project to provide farmers the ease of irrigation is also moving at a snail’s pace. Out of an allocation of Rs 1,950 crore, only around Rs 419 crore has been utilised.
The drinking water and sanitation department’s utilisation so far is only around Rs 139 crore out of a plan allocation of Rs 350 crore. Welfare schemes are also not being implemented on a war footing.
In some cases, however, the state is not to blame. Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, a total of Rs 1,224 crore was earmarked, but so far the state received only a paltry Rs 300-350 crore.