J&K receives less than 10% funding for centrally sponsored schemes
J&K government received less than 10% of funds against the budgetary allocation under the centrally sponsored schemes from the Centre in the first seven months of the financial year 2021-22. As many as 25 departments, such as Jal Jeevan Mission, Disaster Management, Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruction; and Power Development etc, of the UT, as on October 27, received just Rs 1,809 crore. This is less than 10% of the CSS allocation of Rs 18,527 crore for 2021-22.
It should be noted that centrally sponsored schemes are funded by the Union Government, but are implemented by the respective states. A source told the Indian Express that part of the delay in receipt of funds can be attributed to the devastating second wave of COVID-19 through April and May. The official said a lot of this has to do with departments not picking up work in the first quarter of the financial year.
“Release of funds depends on utility certificates for previously released funds and for some departments, on audits of previous expenditure. For centrally sponsored schemes, it depends upon how much you are able to move forward also. There are still five months to go in the current financial year. The departments will pick up work and spending will improve,” the source explained. “Unlike previous years, our focus is on completion of projects in 2021-22. This will reflect in the next two quarters.”
Sources also pointed out that for Centrally sponsored schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) where utility certificates are not an issue since payments are credited through Direct Benefit Transfer – funds have been delayed.
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The Jal Shakti Department, as per the budget estimate for 2021-22, outlay is the highest at Rs 5,477 crore. It should be noted that despite and allocation of Rs 2,747.17 crore, the J&K government has not been able to draw funds from the Union Government. An official said there is an unspent balance of Rs 107 crore, which could not be utilized fully due to restrictions on fragmentation of tenders. And this is attributed to low bidding capacity of local bidders and reluctance of outside agencies to bid for works in J&K.
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