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Nagaland Govt. charged with over-estimating budget & poor financial management

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, MARCH 31: Nagaland Government has been charged with over-estimating the budget provisions and poor financial management in obtaining supplementary grants/appropriations without adequate justification.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report on the State Finances for the year ended on March 31, 2022, said that during 2021-22, against the total budget approved by the State Legislature of Rs 25,644.46 crore (original: ?22,816.61 crore plus Supplementary: Rs 2,827.84 crore), Departments incurred an expenditure of Rs 21,690.85 crore, leaving a savings of Rs 3,953.61 crore (15.42% of the total budget).
It is indicative that the Supplementary Grant of Rs 2,827.84 crore was not required as the gross expenditure was Rs 1,125.76 crore less than the original provisions, the CAG said.
It mentioned that Supplementary Grant was taken on March 22, 2022 and total expenditure as on February 2022 was only Rs 18,504.22 crore as per monthly civil accounts submitted by the Treasuries, leaving Rs 4,312.39 crore with the State Government for the remaining 31 days then.
With the Supplementary Grant, it said, total funds available with the State Government were Rs 7,140.23 crore.
“This was indicative of over-estimation and poor financial management”, the CAG remarked, adding that during the year, an expenditure of Rs 35 lakh was incurred without budget provision which is violative of financial regulations as well as the will of the Legislature.
In this, the CAG said that the Supplementary Grants/Appropriations were obtained without adequate justification, and funds were expended without budgetary provision.
Despite flagging this issue every year over the last several years, the State Government had failed to take corrective measures in this regard.
Pointing out that there was an overall savings of Rs 3,953.61 crore which was 15% of total Grants/Appropriations and 18% of the expenditure, it said these savings may be seen in the context of estimation of receipts of Rs 22,451.28 crore by the State Government and estimation on the expenditure side being Rs 25,644.46 crore during the year 2021-22.
This implied that the savings were notional, as the funds were not actually available for expenditure, it said.
At the beginning of the year 2021-22, there was an outstanding excess expenditure of Rs 213.95 crore under 22 Grants (pertaining to the year 2017-18 to 2020-21) which requires regularisation as per the Article 205 of the Constitution of India, it said.
Review of Higher Education Department revealed persistent savings, unexplained re-appropriation and substantial surrenders, it said.
The CAG therefore recommended that the Departments, which had incurred excess expenditure persistently, should be identified to closely monitor their progressive expenditure and advised to seek supplementary grants/re-appropriations in time.
Asking the Finance Department to provide supplementary grants only after proper scrutiny and realistic assessment of requirements of the concerned Departments, to avoid under or over spending by them, it said excess expenditure pending regularisation may be regularised by obtaining legislative approval.
(Page News Service)