Puducherry

₹3,934-cr. Vote-on-Account Budget passed

Fiscal scenario: The Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory has been placed under suspended animation until the constitution of the 15th Legislative Assembly.   | Photo Credit: T. SINGARAVELOU

With the Legislative Assembly kept in suspended animation and Puducherry under President’s rule, a Vote-on-Account Budget, covering expenditure for a period of five months from April to August 2021, for a total expenditure of ₹3,934 crore, has been passed in Parliament recently to keep the fiscal situation afloat.

Presidential assent has also been provided for the Supplementary Demand for Grants of ₹256.04 crore submitted by the government for certain timeline-critical expenses over the next few months. Of this, the capital expenditure component works out to ₹97.25 crore and revenue expenditure to ₹158.78 crore.

The Vote-on-Account Budget has been passed against the backdrop of fiscal indicators for the Union Territory pointing to a debt to GSDP ratio of 21.99% against the permissible limit of 25% of the GSDP, while the fiscal deficit was 2.07% against the permissible limit of 3% of GSDP.

Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Union Territory of Puducherry for 2020-2021 and Vote-on-Account Budget for the Union Territory of Puducherry for 2021-2022 for five months, pointed out that the regular budget for the year 2021-22 would have to be presented after assumption of office by the new government in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

“I would like to add that the process of finalising the regular budget, including the time required for scrutiny and approval of MHA/ MoF normally takes a minimum of two months time,” Ms. Sitharaman stated while presenting the Vote-on-Account Budget for the Union Territory for 2021-22.

Reference was also made to the Legislative Assembly of Puducherry having been placed under suspended animation until the constitution of the 15th Legislative Assembly.

And, as per the Presidential notification promulgated on February 25, the reference to Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory in Sections 23, 27-31, 48 and 49 of the U.T. Act 1963 required to be construed as reference to Parliament. Accordingly, the Government of Puducherry submitted a proposal for Supplementary Demands for Grants for the year 2020-21, which is required to be sanctioned by Parliament in view of the Legislative Assembly being kept under suspended animation.

The Supplementary Demands for Grants were necessitated by urgent requirements, such as settlement of land acquisition compensation for the Western Bypass Road in Karaikal Collectorate, and Indira Gandhi Arts and Science College, additional request of funds for the conduct of election to the Legislative Assembly through to the counting of votes scheduled for May 2 and the provision of additional funds for COVID-19-related expenditure.

The supplementary grants were also needed for settlement of pending power purchase due to discoms/power generating stations and other unavoidable committed expenditure of the Government of Puducherry, an official said.

Following passage in Parliament of two Appropriation Bills, the bills received the assent of the President in the final week of March, leading to promulgation of the Puducherry Appropriation (Vote on Account) Act, 2021, that authorises payment and appropriation of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the Union Territory of Puducherry for five months of the fiscal.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 8:02:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/3934-cr-vote-on-account-budget-passed/article34331013.ece

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