Jammu: J&K Finance Department, while noting that capital expenditure (capex) is lagging substantially in the Union Territory (UT), has suggested all administrative departments to “control revenue expenditure so as to create space for it (capex).”
Also taking exception to the fact that the progress of according Administrative Approval (AA), tendering and allotment of works is very slow, the department has also directed them to ensure that by the end of this month “all ongoing projects are accorded AA; 100 percent tenders are issued and allotment of works is accelerated.”
These directions were issued by the Principal Secretary Finance Department Santosh D Vaidya recently, while reviewing physical and financial progress achieved under Capex Budget-2023-24.
“All the administrative departments should be cognizant about the forthcoming elections and imposition of Model Code of Conduct. In view of this, all the sanctions and important formalities shall be completed by the end of this month,” Vaidya ordered.
With regard to sluggish expenditure under Capex budget 2023-24, he had a piece of advice for all the Planning Officers i.e., to ensure “expeditious increase in expenditure level to bridge infrastructure deficit.”
Referring to another major grey area, Vaidya, as per official documents, stated that the physical verification and inspection of works was playing a crucial role in transparency of the execution. “However, the progress achieved for the year 2022-23 is very low i.e., 5.75 percent. Regional Directors, District Statistical and Evaluation Officers shall expedite the physical verification of over 16000 works or projects. Physical verification or inspection of the works has to happen systematically and shall be evenly planned for the entire financial year,” he stated, while issuing directions to the Planning Development & Monitoring Department; NIC and DED-II, Finance Department.
During the meeting, the Principal Secretary Finance also stressed that of the four sources of Capex funding of projects in J&K viz., CSS, PMDP, Loan and UT, the CSS (Centrally Sponsored Schemes) was of highest importance.
“The foremost task of all the officers is to get all the individual installments from respective ministries under CSS. Maximum number of installments should be taken from the Government of India under CSS and PMDP during this financial year. The departments which are availing NABARD loans shall ensure that the loan projects are completed in time so that there is no scope for cost escalation,” he instructed the administrative departments.
With regard to Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) projects, Vaidya reiterated, “As more time extensions from the Government of India are not possible, all the departments may expedite the physical or financial progress of PMDP projects so that the schemes are completed in time and the burden on the UT resources is not increased.”
As per the official documents, PMDP implementing departments have 13 ongoing projects. Out of which seven projects have been targeted to be completed during the current financial year and six projects during 2024-25 and beyond.
Principal Secretary Finance noted that several departments implementing CSS and PMDP projects had unspent funds with them which needed to be utilized expeditiously so that they were able to claim fresh installment of funds from the Centre. They were also asked to expedite the submission of Utilization Certificates under CSS, PMDP to their respective ministries in Government of India so that each department could get the next installment of funds from the Centre by October, 2023.
The Rural Development Department was directed to upload data of MGNREGA on BEAMS so as to enable the Finance department to release funds. “All the Planning officers shall create a comprehensive database of all the works being executed in their respective departments so that no work is repeated and duplicity is avoided. The entire exercise shall be completed within one month. NIC may also be utilised for this purpose,” Principal Secretary directed all administrative departments.