JAMMU, Jan 14: Despite oft-repeated statements of the Government laying thrust on boosting agriculture production to improve the State’s economy, slackness is persisting in utilization of funds available under Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Capex Budget by the Agriculture Production Department and its allied wings.
This can be gauged from the fact that less than 50% expenditure has been made during the first three quarters of the current financial year. The most shocking aspect is that under some of the schemes not even single penny has been incurred although only two and half months have left for the closure of the financial year.
As per the official figures available with EXCELSIOR, an amount of Rs 16674.01 lakh was released under different Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Capex Budget to the Agriculture Production Department and its wings for utilization during 2017-18 financial year. However, an amount of only Rs 8191.50 lakh was spent during the first three quarters (up to ending December 2017).
This has clearly exposed the slackness of the officers of the Agriculture Production Department and its wings and raised many questions vis-à-vis full utilization of funds especially when only two and half months have left for the closure of the current financial year.
An amount of Rs 420 lakh each was released to the Directorate of Agriculture Kashmir and Jammu under Capex Budget. However, less than 50% expenditure has been registered by both the Directorates up to ending December 2017. The Jammu Directorate has spent Rs 205.60 lakh against Rs 420 lakh while as Directorate of Agriculture Kashmir has incurred Rs 204.79 lakh against release of Rs 420 lakh.
Under J&K Agros sector, an amount of only Rs 60 lakh has been spent against the release of Rs 207.50 lakh under Capex Budget. The Sher-e-Kashmir Universities of Agricultural Sciences and Technology have registered only 50% expenditure during the past nine months.
An amount of Rs 1050 lakh each was released to SKUAST-Jammu and SKUAST-Kashmir under Capex Budget but during the first three quarters of the current financial year only an amount of Rs 525 lakh each has been utilized by the farm universities.
Similarly, under National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, an amount of Rs 316.02 lakh was released but only Rs 102.05 lakh could be spent by the concerned authorities till December 31, 2017. Likewise, under National Mission on Agriculture Extension and Technology (NMAET) an amount of Rs 985.06 lakh was utilized against availability of Rs 2114.74 lakh.
In another Centrally Sponsored Scheme—Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, an amount of only Rs 930.73 lakh has been spent against the release of Rs 2247.54 lakh. Similarly, only an amount of Rs 133.70 lakh has been spent against release of Rs 607.99 lakh under Integrated Scheme for Development of Sericulture Industry.
Shockingly, not even single penny was spent under National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana during the first three quarters of the current financial year.
Under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana an amount of Rs 2500 lakh was made available while as under National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm funds worth Rs 20 lakh were made available to the concerned authorities.
“It is a matter of concern that on one side the State projects demand of huge funds under different schemes of agriculture sector but when it comes to utilization it makes dismal performance”, sources remarked.
They further said, “the depressing scenario vis-à-vis utilization of funds is notwithstanding the fact that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is laying stress on bringing more land under agricultural activities to increase productivity and generate employment”.
Even Governor N N Vohra has repeatedly been laying thrust on making outcome of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes visible on ground.