Centre set to release pending grants of Urban, Rural Local Bodies

Will give boost to developmental works
*FD imposes rider on release of  remaining 25 pc funds

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 28: The Central Government has decided to release grants for Rural and Urban Local Bodies to pace up developmental works in both rural and urban areas even as the Finance Department today said that balance 25 percent funds under the Capex Budget for the current financial year will be released only after expenditure level rises to 70 percent of the released funds.
Official sources told the Excelsior that grants pending for Urban and Rural Local Bodies will be released by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) shortly as this is their last year of term. Five-year-term of both the bodies will expire around December this year and elections for them have to be conducted in November-December.
“Even next financial year’s grants will also be released with beginning of next fiscal year on April 1, 2023 to ensure that whatever works the Panchayats and Municipalities can do during their remaining period of term can be executed before new representatives take over the helm of affairs in December-January,” sources said.
However, term of the Block Development Councils (BDCs) is till November 2024 while that of District Development Councils (DDCs) is till December 2025.
Sources said the grants for Rural Local Bodies including Panchayats, BDCs and DDCs and Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees will boost developmental works in both urban and rural areas.
“Even since elections were held to Panchayats, BDCs, DDCs and Municipalities (Panchayat and Municipal elections were held prior to abrogation of Article 370 while that of BDCs and DDCs were conducted after that), the Central Government has been releasing timely grants to both the bodies,” sources pointed out.
Recently, the Rural Development Department had announced release of pending amount to Rural Bodies under the 14th Finance Commission for specific works which had earlier been freezed.
Meanwhile, the Finance Department has reminded the Departments of a rider on release of remaining 25 percent funds under Capex (Capital Expenditure) Budget during current financial year of 2022-23.
The Finance Department has released 75 percent funds under Capex budget during current financial year of 2022-23.
“While releasing 75 percent funds under Capex budget, it has been mentioned that balance 25 percent funds shall be released only when expenditure level is 70 percent of the released funds,” an order issued by the Finance Department said.
It said all Departments shall incur expenditure as per actual execution level of the projects and emphasis shall be laid on projects which are going to be completed during current financial year of 2022-23.
The bills shall be accordingly preferred at the Treasuries for payment, the order said.
The Finance Department order intimated to all the Departments that under Capex Budget, balance 25 percent funds in respect of the works shall be released provided the expenditure is 70 percent or above out of the already released funds.
It added that the Treasury Officers shall entertain bills as per released funds in respect of each work against work done claims.
Sources said the decision was aimed at economy and austerity measures and rationalization of expenditure by the Government Departments.
Current year’s budget of Jammu and Kashmir (2022-23) was to the tune of Rs 1,12,950 crore and the UT administration is expecting the budget to touch Rs 1.20 lakh crore for next fiscal. Spending such a huge amount also needs resources, sources pointed out but said J&K administration has been doing well on the fiscal front.
“If Jammu and Kashmir gets Rs 1.20 lakh crore worth budget for 2023-24, it will be a good achievement for the UT administration,” the sources said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had presented J&K’s budget for 2020-21 on March 17, 2020, 2021-22 on March 17, 2021 and 2022-23 on March 14, 2022.
The budget for 2019-2020 was adopted by the then State Administrative Council (SAC) here while budget of 2018-19 was last to be presented in the Assembly of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir by then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu before the Government collapsed after withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition Government by the BJP in June 2018.