*Home, Planning, Agri, Forest among worst performing deptts
JAMMU, Feb 3: Notwith-standing the directions of the Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the slackness is still persisting in utilization of funds available under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes for transforming development scenario of Jammu and Kashmir. Due to this, the people are being deprived of the benefits of the initiatives taken by the Union Government in almost all the vital sectors. Shockingly, the key departments like Planning, Development and Monitoring, Home, Agriculture and Forest are among the worst performers.
The Centrally Sponsored Schemes are primarily focused on the National Development Agenda that transcends individual States and binds the nation together in a fruitful partnership to improve the quality of life of the people and lift them out of the poverty.
Recently, the Centrally Sponsored Schemes were brought under the ambit of District Plan so as to ensure overseeing their effective implementation and rigorous monitoring of expenditure at the district level by the District Development Boards of which Legislators are the members. Further, in most of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, the Chief Secretary heads the State Level Monitoring-cum-Screening Committee for effective implementation in the State.
In the month of January 2016, the Governor N N Vohra while chairing the meeting of all the Administrative Secretaries had expressed serious concern over delay in utilization of all the available resources particularly the funds available under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
Even Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, while chairing the meeting of Council of Ministers in April last year, had underscored the need to improve focus on the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes saying that these have great potential in transforming the development scenario of the State.
She had even gone to the extent of mentioning that J&K can immensely benefit from such schemes like the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and called upon the Administrative Secretaries to overcome all the difficulties by paying special attention so as to ensure effective utilization of funds under all the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
However, no perceptible change has been witnessed in utilization of funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes despite the concerns of Governor as well as Chief Minister. This can be gauged from the official figures, which indicate that only 47% funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes were utilized in first three quarters of 2016-17 financial year.
According to the figures, as against availability of Rs 3894.98 crore only an amount of Rs 1814.52 crore was spent by various departments under Centrally Sponsored Schemes. “If such is the poor performance in three quarters what wonders the departments can do in last quarter remains a million dollar question”, official sources remarked.
Agriculture, Forest, Industries and Commerce, Planning, Monitoring and Development, Youth Services and Sports/Technical Education, Law and Home are the worst performing departments as the figures reveal that expenditure by these departments against total availability of funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes was less than 20% up to ending December 2016. Some of these departments have expended even less than 10% of the funds made available by the Union Government.
In forest sector where schemes like National Afforestation Programme (NAP), Intensification of Forest Management (IFM), National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystem (NPCA) and Conservation and Management of Wetlands are under implementation not even single penny was spent as against availability of Rs 953.21 lakh in first three quarters of current financial year.
Similar is the fate of Modernization of Police Force Scheme being implemented by the Home Department as not even single penny was spent in first three quarters against availability of Rs 2387 lakh.
In agriculture sector where schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET), National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana (PMKSY) are under implementation an amount of only Rs 2467.29 lakh was spent against availability of Rs 12895.98 lakh.
The Law Department, which has been entrusted the task of development of infrastructure facilities for the judiciary spent an amount of Rs 108 lakh as against availability of Rs 2739.55 lakh up to ending December 31, 2016. Even the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department, which is considered as backbone of the Government, has failed to gear up implementation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Against availability of Rs 13988.05 lakh, this department spent only Rs 2500 lakh under Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
As per the figures, Horticulture Department made an expenditure of Rs 2413.32 lakh against availability of Rs 4155.16 lakh up to ending December 31, 2016 while as Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department recorded 27% expenditure by spending Rs 584.69 lakh against availability of Rs 2163.85 lakh.
Rural Development Department spent Rs 66828.22 lakh against availability of Rs 96776.89 lakh while as Industries Department recorded 13.5% expenditure by spending Rs 100 lakh against availability of Rs 736.90 lakh. Department of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control registered expenditure of 46% by spending Rs 19782.98 lakh against availability of Rs 42773.21 lakh.
Public Works Department recorded 40% expenditure by spending Rs 37383 lakh against Rs 91599 lakh in first three quarters of current financial year and School Education Department registered 25% expenditure by spending Rs 7820.56 lakh against availability of Rs 31647.69 lakh. Health and Medical Education Department spent Rs 25339.20 lakh against availability of Rs 44019.45 lakh.
Housing and Urban Development Department recorded 34% expenditure by spending Rs 2665.76 lakh against availability of Rs 7843.24 lakh while as Social Welfare Department registered 54% expenditure by spending Rs 5132.03 lakh against availability of Rs 9529.74 lakh in first three quarters of current financial year.
The Department of Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports recorded 13% expenditure by spending Rs 600 lakh against availability of Rs 4743.38 lakh while as Higher Education Department recorded 22% expenditure by spending Rs 2302.24 lakh against availability of Rs 10447 lakh.
The Revenue is the only department which has performed better as compared to all other departments by registering expenditure of 76%. This department spent Rs 807.42 lakh against availability of Rs 1063.56 lakh for implementation of National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) in first three quarters of current financial year.
All this clearly indicates that ensuring effective implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes has not received required attention in majority of the Government departments.