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Govt brings in law to speed up public expenditure; Avoid cost, time overrun

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JAMMU, FEB 05: The Legislative Council Monday passed Rs 95666.97 crore budget for J&K for the year 2018-19, comprising revenue component of Rs 51244.72 crore and capital component of Rs 44422.24 crore.

The Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bill-2018, passed by the Legislative Assembly Saturday, was moved by the Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu in the Upper House today and was adopted with voice-vote.

The Budget proposals for 2018-19 were, earlier, presented in the House on 11 January this year in which the Finance Minister has proposed 20% step up over the last year’s budget size of Rs 79472 crore.

Pertinently, for the first time in J&K’s fiscal history, the Finance Minister has factored in wide-ranging Expenditure Reforms in the Appropriation Bill-2018 making the government legally bound to ensure time-bound public expenditure, avoid delays in execution of development works and reduce pilferages.

By setting timelines for release of money and its utilisation across departments and executing agencies, the Finance Minister has linked expenditure reforms with allocation of funds.

Enumerating on the Expenditure Reforms factored in the Appropriation Bill, Dr Drabu said the Finance and the Planning, Development and Monitoring Developments shall release both Revenue and Capital budget to all the administrative departments within two weeks of the passage of the Appropriation Bill.

He said the administrative departments shall, in turn, ensure release of funds to the subordinate offices within four weeks of their receipt, failing which these funds shall be deemed to have been transferred to the intended DDOs on the dates they ought to have been released by the administrative departments /Controlling Officers. “Planning Development and Monitoring Department shall ensure that all plan allocations to be made in the next fiscal bear proper classification, indicating, name of the work/scheme against detailed Head-115 Works,” he said and added that in the absence of the schematic classification, the relevant Capex release shall be deemed as invalid and not open to being operationalization.

The Finance Minister said there no payments shall be made by any Treasury/PAO from 1 April 2018, under any expenditure head, if the releases for the same have not been made and further received by the spending and bill passing Officers via BEAMS. “Treasury Officers/PAOs shall be personally liable for making payments on the funds released and received bypassing the BEAMS application,” he said.

Dr Drabu further said that the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department shall mandatorily upload on its website the department-wise “Name of the Schemes/Works/Projects”, forming part of the Capex budget for the fiscal 2018-19, along with the respective allocations.

He said the procurement plans of the departments for the next fiscal shall be limited by an outermost cap of 60 days, starting 1st April. “From conceiving the nature and quantity of public goods and services to be procured to preparing tenders/RFQs/EoIs to finally awarding the contract, the departments shall compulsorily finish the whole process by 30 May 2018,” he said and added that any spill-over in timelines shall be automatically visited with the appropriate disciplinary actions.

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