76% of Plan funds unutilised


Government could spend only 24% of funds till Sept. 30

With hardly five months left in the current financial year, about 76 per cent of the State Plan funds apportioned for major development initiatives remain unutilised.

According to the latest Plan review report accessed by The Hindu , against an outlay of Rs.20,000 crore for the State Plan schemes for the year, the government could expend only Rs.4,896.88 crore, till September 30. Going by the current utilisation rate of 24 per cent, the government may not be able to achieve the 60 per target set for December 31. Funds earmarked for many major infrastructure projects remain unspent. The best instance is the Rs.422.92 crore provided by the 14{+t}{+h}Finance Commission for 21 priority schemes in fisheries, health, agriculture, education, and revenue. None of the departments have used the funds.

The State has been lax in utilising the one-time additional Central assistance for priority schemes too. As per the budget estimates, the outlay for 45 schemes in this category is Rs.192.86 crore. The schemes are being implemented by 18 departments. These include setting up of new medical colleges in Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Kasaragod, and Wayanad districts, and development of hospitals for women and children. The departments could expend only Rs.18 crore till September 30. The government’s eagerness to increase the Plan size annually does not match with its enthusiasm in timely execution of projects. Poor fund absorption rate is being cited as a reflection of the inefficiency of the political leadership and lack of departmental coordination in executing projects within a specific time frame.

Most district project implementing officers are still unaware of the funds allotted for schemes and the department heads are not likely to get enough time this year to issue the clearances. Since the government is entering the final phase of its tenure, the political leadership will be busy with the preparations for the Assembly elections. This will slacken the Plan review process too. So, attaining a 60 per cent target by the year-end, would be tough for the government, sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:50:30 AM |

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