State finance department has reacted to the disclosure of ACAUT Nagaland that as per RTI documents the state government had Rs.5229.56 crore released by the Centre for 2015-16-17 parked in coffers as on December 7, 2016.
In a press release, additional chief secretary & finance commissioner, Temjen Toy, admitted that ACAUT had filed an RTI application and the information sought was accordingly made available by the state government. However, Temjen Toy said it appeared that the information furnished by the government was “misunderstood” leading to “wrong conclusion” that the government had huge funds in its coffers owing to non-utilization of funds released by the centre.
The finance commissioner while seeking to clarify the matter stated that the central government releases funds from time to time as per the norms recommended by the finance commission. He said the state government takes into account all the funds receivable from all sources during a particular financial year and works out the estimates of receipts for the purpose of the state budget.
According to finance commissioner, the main sources of receipts of the state government included the Post Devolution Revenue Gap Grant, State’s Share of Central Taxes, all other grants available under the Award of the Finance Commission, State’s Own Tax & Non-Tax Revenue, and the Borrowings of the State Government as permissible within the norms prescribed by the Finance Commission.
Therefore, he said the Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant (PDRDG) and Grant for Disaster Relief as mentioned in the news item under reference have been incorporated in the state budget for the year 2015- 16 and 2016-17.
To verify the correctness of this statement, the finance commissioner said page 2 of the “Explanatory Memorandum to the Budget” for the years 2015-16 and 2016-17 could be referred to.
Similarly, he said the grants indicated for the year 2017-18 would also be incorporated in the budget for the year 2017-18.
While Central grant against disaster relief was utilized specifically for disaster relief, Temjen Toy said the PDRDG and the state’s share of central taxes etc. were not tied to any specific programme/scheme but goes to finance the state’s expenditure as reflected in the budget of the respective year.
Further, he said that since the above mentioned receipts have been/were being utilized to meet the expenditure as reflected in the Budget of the respective year, there cannot be any question of any part of these central grants remaining unutilized.
Meanwhile, the finance commissioner said the problems relating to delay in payment of salaries to SSA, RMSA, Hindi teachers etc. were genuine and were being tackled as best as possible.
However, he said it must be understood that such programs fall under Centrally Sponsored Schemes and releases under those schemes were directly linked to the corresponding specific releases from the Centre.
Toy clarified that there was no logical link of those issues to the Post Devolution Revenue Gap Grant etc, of which no undistributed ‘reserve’ was kept anywhere.
The finance commissioner hoped that the clarification would put to rest any doubts on management of the state’s finances.