January 12, 2017 EDITORIAL 321 Views
Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu presented Rs 80,000 crore annual budget in the Legislative Assembly and promised a series of administrative reforms including a cap on the release of funds towards the end of the financial year and making of payments to departments and contractors through online mode to cut down on time for clearances.In his budget speech, Drabu laid emphasis on better fiscal management system and sought to overhaul the system of funding of the developmental projects in the state.  Besides, outlining that the government will focus on early completion of developmental projects and putting a cap on the release of funds towards the end of financial year, he sought to replace the existing system of financing of the developmental activities through a computerized integrated financial management system (IFMS). He set out his priority in making the payments through online set up and emphasized that the current government will focus on the clearance of the projects in the time bound banner and only after the preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs). He said that the previous practice was to start the developmental works without any prior administrative approval. The opposition National Conference called Drabu’s “merchant of dreams” and his Budget speech as jugglery of words and ideas which hardly are implemented and executed on the ground. Under the integrated financial management system (IFMS), Drabu said the bills would be processed
online to make faster and transparent. He said that while terms of making the developmental expenditure within the stipulated time, he said the Finance department and the Planning Development and Monitoring departments will release 50 per cent of the revenue and capex budget by 10th February for the expenditure that would be booked from 1 April, 2017. Meanwhile the opposition Congress criticised the state budget, alleging it lacks vision or direction to steer the state out of the “economic problems”. The budget presented by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has no vision or direction to deal with economic
problems of the state. The Congress leader also hit out at the Finance Minister for raking up the provident fund mismanagement over the past 30 years in the state. Now that half of the approved budget will be released two months prior to the start of the new Financial Year, the phasing of expenditure during the year must change. Till now, almost 70 to 80 per cent of the expenditure is booked during the last quarter of the financial year. This makes a mockery of the budget numbers besides creating problems of monitoring and liquidity management.

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