CAG bangs TS government for economic growth

HYDERABAD: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has commended the Telangana State Government for registering a positive growth rate of 2.42% in 2020-2021, while the country recorded a growth rate negative 2.97%. The CAE report for 2020-21 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

“During 2020-21, the economic downturn coupled with the Covid pandemic had a dual effect of declining revenue and increasing revenue spending, particularly in the early months of 2020-21 compared to 2019- 20. The state had to depend significantly on In 2020-2021, Telangana recorded the lowest growth rate in the last five years, however, while the country recorded a negative growth rate of 2.97% in 2020-2021, it is encouraging to note that Telangana could still record a positive growth rate of 2.42%,” the report said.

The report highlighted that the state has been unable to meet any of the three key fiscal targets, namely maintaining the revenue surplus, the fiscal deficit targets for the GSDP and the total debt stock. to the GSDP. For the second consecutive year, the state recorded a revenue shortfall of Rs 22,298 crore and a budget shortfall of Rs 49,038 crore.

“The revenue shortfall was understated by an extent of Rs 545 crore and the budget shortfall was understated by an extent of Rs 214 crore due to non-payment of interest charges, short contribution to the national pension system and due to certain misclassifications between income and capital expenditure,” the report said.

Although the percentage of total outstanding debt to GSDP (28.11%) is within the limit of 29.50% of GSDP prescribed by the 15th Finance Commission for 2020-2021, it would be well above the limit of 38.10% if the debts of the state government relating to its off-budget borrowing (OBB) of Rs 97,940.45 crore are taken into account. OBB’s non-disclosure has a double impact of diluting public finance management and legislative oversight and is contrary to the recommendations of the 15th Finance Committee, the CAG said.

“The state consistently lags behind in education and health spending compared to other states. Interest payments, in particular, are increasing year on year. Huge spending on capital of Rs 1,44,399 crore has been committed for ongoing irrigation projects,” he added.

There is a consistent trend of incurring out-of-budget expenditure (Rs 1,247 crore in 2020-21) as well as over-provision expenditure (Rs 81,514.54 crore) over the years in violation of the constitutional provisions. This excess expenditure of Rs 1,32,547 crore from 2014-15 to 2019-20 had not yet been regularized.

The state legislature initially approved a budget of Rs 1,82,959 crore and an additional provision of Rs 26,131 crore. The actual expenditure incurred was Rs 2,34,088 crore resulting in net excess expenditure of Rs 24,998 crore.

Municipal administration and urban development (voted capital for Rs 7,547 crore), housing (voted revenue for Rs 7,069 crore) and social welfare (`6,124 crore) were the grants in which significant amounts remained unpaid. spent during the year. There were persistent savings of over Rs 1,000 crore in MA&UD, welfare, tribal welfare and agriculture grants, indicating inadequate implementation of welfare schemes.

The entire provision remained unspent on Hyderabad urban agglomeration (Rs 10,000 crore), construction of 2BHK houses for the poor in rural areas (Rs 3,150 crore), 2BHK houses in urban areas (Rs 1,850 crore) and the market intervention fund (Rs 1,000 crore). Of the Rs 6,225 crore provided for the Rs 1 lakh Farmer Loan Relief Scheme, only Rs 213 crore has been spent, leaving an unspent provision of Rs 6,012 crore. 000 crore rupees provided for the 2BHK scheme, only 550 crore rupees was used, saving 4,450 crore rupees. Low maintenance expenditures for irrigation projects continued this year as in the previous year.

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