The Telegraph
Friday , February 21 , 2014
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Fix-it budget for old fiscal year

Ranchi, Feb. 20: From a VIP chopper to rural bridges, holistic development was high on state priorities as evinced in the third and last supplementary budget of 2013-14 tabled today in the Assembly, a day before the presentation of the main 2014-15 budget.

Of the Rs 1,448.61 crore, major gainers included rural works, road construction, civil aviation, finance and IT sectors.

From buying a chopper to constructing helipads, revamping airstrips and state highways, to creating bridges under Chief Minister Rural Bridges Scheme, building village roads and hospitals and opening vacancies for plus two teachers at government schools, the focus is on addressing as many sectors as possible.

But, given the fact that only some 40 days are left for the current fiscal (2013-14) to end, many projects would spill over the next financial year.

The need for a third supplementary budget rose mainly to utilise available allocations optimally. Of the Rs 16,800 crore in the state plan head coffers, only some 36 per cent were utilised so far this year, with energy, HRD, food and civil supplies, planning and water resources departments among the ones faring the worst.

“The main budget had passed by the Parliament last year when the state was under President’s Rule. We are struggling hard to put the things on right track,” said finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh, tabled the budget today on the Floor of the House on second day of budget session of the Jharkhand Assembly.

The road construction department got Rs 350 crore for construction of roads and bridges. Civil aviation department got Rs 169.99 crore, while building construction received Rs 39.90 crore under plan head and another Rs 3.18 crore under non-plan head.

Forest and environment department got Rs 7.70 crore for forestry and wildlife work and another Rs 14.70 lakh under non-plan head.

And, though the health department got Rs 3.86 crore, not a single penny is meant for planned expenses.

State finance secretary A.P. Singh, who had a pivotal role in making the budget, told The Telegraph that new allocations would not burden the state exchequer.

“In fact, there have been more surrenders (by non-performing departments) than provisions made in the supplementary budget,” said Singh.

The state government recently asked various departments to surrender surplus sums so that these could be utilised elsewhere and not get lapsed.

On the main budget for 2014-15, Singh promised a “balance”. “The need for bringing supplementary budgets may not arise in the new fiscal if things proceed on the right track,” he said.

Assembly proceedings were far from peaceful as the JMM, BJP, Ajsu and JVM created a din on various issues. Though Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta repeatedly requested MLAs to return to their seats, the House was adjourned twice in the first half.