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CAG exposes State’s poor fiscal health

Only 33 per cent of the revenue receipts during 2016-17 came from the State’s own resources

STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 6: Even though the State government has been blaming the erstwhile Congress regime for leaving an empty coffer and fiscal indiscipline, things have remained more or less similar even after the BJP has ruled the State for nearly two years.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its audit report on State’s finces for the year that ended March 31, 2017 has revealed that the Assam Government had incurred expenditure of Rs 58,178.31 crore against the total grants and appropriations of Rs 83,069.15 crore, resulting in overall savings of Rs 24,890.84 crore during the fincial year 2016-17. The overall savings of Rs 24,890.84 crore stood at 30 per cent of total grants and appropriations. According to CAG, the development shows poor fincial magement by the State.
On other hand, against overall savings of Rs 24,890.84 crore, only an amount of Rs 3,941.92 crore (15.84 per cent) was surrendered during 2016-17, of which Rs 3,923.55 crore (99.53 per cent) was surrendered on the last day of that fincial year (March 31, 2017). Delay in surrender denied the utilization of savings fund for other developmental purposes.
According to the latest CAG report, excess expenditure over allocation amounting to Rs 10,004.29 crore pertaining to years from 2002-03 to 2015-16 were not regularized till December 2017. The cases of excess expenditure over grants are serious fiscal indiscipline in violation of the will of the Legislature.
The CAG report has stated that Dispur’s compliance with various rules, procedures and directives is unsatisfactory as 11,641 utilization certificates in respect of grants aggregating Rs 24,907.26 crore paid to 53 departments of the State Government during 2001-02 to 2016-17 were in arrears. Non-submission of utilization certificates is fraught with the risk of misappropriation, it has observed.
The CAG report has stated that about 33 per cent of the revenue receipts during 2016-17 came from the State’s own resources while Central tax transfers and grants-in-aid together contributed 67 per cent. The CAG has drawn conclusion that Assam’s fiscal position is largely influenced by the share of tax transfers and grants-in-aid from the Central Government.

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Ankur Kalita