Expenditure review panel finds many departments not showing keen interest

The percentage of spending on Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) in the State during 2010-11 had been found to be ‘very poor’ and Kudumbasree had registered the lowest percentage of spending followed by the Harbour Engineering and Fisheries Departments.

Kudumbasree utilised only 47.04 per cent of the funds for the CSS during 2010-11 while it was 48.88 per cent for the Harbour Engineering Department.

Except the Departments of Agriculture (113.70 per cent) and Soil Survey and Soil Conservation (138.90 per cent), the percentage of spending for the CSS had been found to be very poor by the Kerala Public Expenditure Review Committee. A scrutiny of the schemes by the committee revealed that many departments had not been able to utilise the CSS ‘properly’ despite the 100 per cent sponsored schemes by the Centre turning “a great relief for the State government to mitigate the resource crunch”.

Many departments had “not been able to spend more than 50 per cent of the sanctioned Plan outlay”. The Department of Agriculture had not spent even a single rupee from the Rs.100 lakh for the Seed Infrastructure Project.

The department spent only 62.16 per cent of the Plan outlay for organic farming and 49.40 per cent for agriculture mechanisation and that too at the last quarter.

Kudumbasree spent only 4.31 per cent of the total sanctioned outlay of Rs. 263.31 lakh for the RAY scheme and that too during the fourth quarter. The Harbour Engineering Department received a large number of CSS during the period but the spending performance was very poor for many projects.

Of the Rs.200 lakh allotted for modernisation of fishing harbours, the department spent only 0.20 per cent. Of the Rs.60 lakh allotted for repairs and renovation, the department could not spend any amount during the period. The Department of Rural Development spent only around 63 per cent from the CSS of Backward Region Grant Fund. Although the Forest Department also received a large number of CSS, its spending performance was not good. Of the Rs.500 lakh sanctioned for ‘integrated development of wildlife habitats’ during the period, the department utilised only 9.77 per cent.

The committee, in its report tabled in the Assembly this week, said many departments in the State were “not showing interest in efficient and full utilisation of these allotted funds timely” and called for “urgent steps to tide over this undesirable situation”.