In State budget to be tabled earlier in February this year, additional Rs 10,000 crore fund will be needed
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Jan 10: Despite straitened finances, the State government is planning to increase fund allocation for each department by 20 percent in the forthcoming 2017-18 budget. However, the Finance department will be strict with departmental performance and expenditure record before releasing funds this time.
Each department will have to submit details of expenditure in every scheme during the current fiscal before approaching for release of funds in the next fiscal, said sources. If necessary, a department may be asked to furnish details of expenditures in schemes during earlier fiscals too. “Without submission of expenditure details, funds will not be released to departments,” they said.
The Assam assembly’s budget session will begin from January 30 this year.
After the Central government decided to advance tabling of the Union budget by a month, the Assam government has followed suit and will table the State budget in February.
The Union budget will be presented on February 1 this year, in a departure from the Raj-era practice of being presented on the last working day of February. In Assam, the budget used to be presented in the second week of March.
“The idea is to expedite the implementation of budget proposals by getting an early start. As the new financial year starts in April, if the budget is tabled in March, the whole process gets delayed. It takes at least two months for the budget communication process. The government has therefore decided to advance tabling of the State budget so that its proposals can be implemented immediately in the new financial year,” sources added.
State Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already started the budget preparation exercise, meeting with officials of different administrative departments.
Sources informed that the 2017-18-budget will be a development-oriented budget. “The Finance minister will give top priority to development,” they said.
However, it would be a challenging task for the Finance minister as additional funds to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore will be required in the forthcoming budget.
“This is because the State government will implement the recommendations of Seventh Pay Commission with effect from April 1 this year. The government will have to bear an additional expenditure of Rs 4,500 crore for implementing the pay panel recommendations,” sources pointed out.
This apart, the State government has adopted Mukhya Mantri Samagra Gram Yojana scheme for which fund to the tune of Rs 33,000 crore will be required over five years.
“For implementing this scheme, Rs 5,000 crore will be required in 2017-18 fiscal. Among other factors, likely rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and effect of demonetization will be important. So the budget preparation exercise this time will be a challenging task for the Finance minister,” sources added.