Even as the new financial year began on Sunday, the state finance department’s figures show that only 53 per cent of the total budget for 2017-18 had been spent on various departments.
Till January 31, the expenditure was a mere 38 per cent — to which finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had said there would be last-minute spending. The closing figures, however, did not show much spending on departments. The Opposition has slammed the government for the ‘financial mismanagement’.
Despite austerity measures and 30 per cent cuts to social schemes, the state government has spent only 53 per cent of funds allocated for the last financial year. As per finance department figures between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, on the last day of the financial year, “Rs 3,33,824 crore were budgeted and Rs 1,61,498 crore were released. Of which Rs 1,79,017 crore were actually spent (sic).” The housing department had spent the lowest amount — five per cent of the funds, followed by the environment department (six per cent), the public works department (11 per cent) and water resources department (12 per cent), as per the data.
Mr Mungantiwar earlier had expressed confidence that the figures would change by the end of the financial year. However, this is not reflected in the figures. In fact, the government had issued an order preventing departments from procuring supplies from February 1, which thwarted the department from spending funds at the last minute.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant criticised the government for “mismanagement of finances.” “This is not the first time that the BJP-led government has not been able to manage its finances. A cut of 30 per cent was already imposed to the budget so departments have received a very small amount for schemes. The state’s financial situation is not good. On the one hand, it is not spending money on legitimate things such as schemes, but wasting money on tea and snacks in the CMO,” Mr Sawant said, referring to the alleged ‘tea scam’ where a 577 per cent rise was allegedly seen in the bills of tea and snacks served in the chief minister’s office.