Silver lining in the otherwise bleak scenario is Central schemes will not lapse

The State has ended its financial year 2013-14, the last one for the united State, on a disappointing note with a whopping revenue shortfall of Rs.16,000 crore, including Rs. 9,000 crore due from the Centre.

It means the new fiscal year 2014-15 would begin with a burden of unfulfilled commitments which should be accommodated in the new budget and this will have a negative fall-out on capital expenditure and development projects.

This would not have been a serious worry in a normal year as financial adjustments to clear dues under non-plan are common place.

However, with State bifurcation under process and the two successor States coming into existence on June 2, the unfulfilled financial commitments of the last year can put a State, particularly the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, in a tight spot with its anticipated revenue deficit.

Funds sought

Concerned over the pending disbursals from the Centre, including grants, devolution of Central taxes and Centrally-sponsored schemes, Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty had gone to Delhi recently and met various Ministries and Planning Commission officials seeking release of funds under various Central schemes. But only a few hundred crores could be released.

Some respite

One redeeming feature is that funds under the Centrally-sponsored schemes with a span of five years or so would not lapse with the end of the financial year. About Rs. 3,000 crore was withheld due to inordinate delay in holding elections to local bodies in time (of this, Rs. 1,100 crore was released after panchayat elections were held a few months ago).

The remaining amount may be released once the ongoing election process for zilla, mandal parishad and urban local bodies is completed, sources said.

A senior official said that Centre’s revenues also took a dip of about Rs. 2 lakh crore in 2013-14 as the economy did not do well and it impacted Central tax devolutions to all the States.

In addition to this, Andhra Pradesh did not have a normal year due to agitations over the State bifurcation issue and it had a negative impact on VAT revenue, stamps and registration revenue, significantly in Hyderabad.