Paucity of funds may hit local bodies

Decentralised planning and development activities of the 1,200 local self-government institutions are likely to be seriously impaired for want of funds in the next financial year.

But for providing an additional plan assistance of Rs.5,000 crore in the budget for 2016-17, the government has not considered or included the recommendations of the Fifth State Finance Commission for devolving Plan funds to the local bodies in the budget.

Official sources told The Hindu here that the government laxity in accepting the commission’s recommendations and incorporating it in the budget proposals would have a direct bearing on the functioning of the local bodies. It also runs contrary to the government’s claim to have put in place a mechanism for streamlining the planning process of local bodies from the next financial year.

The budget proposals itself speak of a system for prioritising projects and introducing a system to issue clearances in advance so that they could be implemented right from the start of the financial year itself. This system has also been projected as a solution to end tardy execution by bunching of projects at the end of the financial year, mostly in March.

The State Cabinet is bound to discuss and accept the report and table it in the Assembly with an action taken report. The recommendations should have been part of the budget proposals too. Being the last session of the Assembly, the government should have completed such procedures in time, but has decided to defer it. The paltry allocation would be totally inadequate and would fall short of the requirements of the local bodies. This means, all efforts taken so far for expediting the planning process would go astray, sources said.

The government was allegedly going slow on completing the procedures following the Finance Department’s objections against the award fixed by the commission. Since the Left Democratic Front (LDF) had wrested power in majority of the local bodies, the United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership was understood to have taken a political decision to slow down the process, sources said.é

The commission had recommended to award Rs.8,500 crore to the local bodies for the next financial year. It had also recommended to allocate 28 per cent of the Rs.8,500 crore as maintenance fund for road and non-road assets, 17 per cent as general purpose fund, and 55 per cent as development fund.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 1:24:57 PM |

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