By Amita Verma
Lucknow, Jan 29 (IANS): Even as the Uttar Pradesh government prepares to table its annual budget for 2023-24, a low utilisation of funds earmarked in the state budget for 2022-23 reflects the state of administration and also puts a question mark on development claims.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has now asked many of its departments to ensure that these allocations are used by March 20, 2023. He has warned that the performance of the department in the current financial year would be considered while deciding the upcoming budget provision by the Finance Department.
According to official sources, till December 31, 2022, many departments have been able to use only half of the budgetary provisions.
Though UP government has consistently monitored the utilisation of funds, the low expenditure has remained a cause of concern for many departments.
Allocated funds, if not used within a given financial year (when the budget is passed), are not carried over to the next financial year.
"The situation is monitored at various levels of the state government almost every month and steps are taken to ensure that the maximum funds are used before the end of year," said an official in the state finance department.
A close scrutiny of the budgetary provisions and allocations indicates that the expenditure by different departments was nearly 50 per cent or even less than 50 per cent of the funds earmarked in the first three quarters (up to December 31, 2022) when the last review was conducted early in January 2023.
The departments, which have not been able to use funds up to satisfactory levels, include the PWD, medical and medical education, vocational education, social welfare, women's welfare, tourism, environment and civil aviation.
The state government's progressive expenditure (as indicated on the koshvani.up.nic.in on January 19, 2023) indicates that many departments have not been able to make improvement in the situation after the last review.
The PWD (special area programme) was able to spend only Rs 175.67 crore against budgetary provision of Rs 700 crore and allocation of Rs 113.60 crore.
A sum of Rs 6118.47 crore has been used under PWD (roads) head against the budgetary provision of Rs 26,594.41 crore and allocation of Rs 12827.80 crore.
A sum of Rs 4,980.69 crore has been used against budgetary provision of Rs 10,390.76 crore and allocation of Rs 7974.44 crore) for medical (allopathic medicine) while Rs 801.27 crore and Rs 386.41 crore have been used against budgetary provision of Rs 1784.94 crore and Rs 684.55 crore for medical (Ayurvedic and Unani) and medical (homeopathy).
The vocational education department used Rs 608.70 crore against budget provision of Rs 1222.98 crore. The social welfare department utilised Rs 5647.29 crore against the budget of Rs 12158.09 crore and allocation of Rs 9820.93 crore.
The women's welfare department used Rs 2341.95 crore against budget provision of Rs 4643.86 crore. A sum of Rs 528.22 crore has been used by the tourism department against budgetary provision of Rs 1104.20 crore and allocation of Rs 594.73 crore.
The environment and civil aviation departments used Rs 5.78 crore and Rs 577.71 crore, respectively, against budgetary provision of Rs 18.20 crore and Rs 2315.68 crore, respectively.
Meanwhile, a UP minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "The problem is that the bureaucracy has become so dominating that most officers do not work in accordance with what the minister says. Red tapism has become the order of the day which leads to delays."