#JKBudget2018: Liabilities, Fiscal Deficit and costs of development go all time down

JAMMU: Starting apparently with pessimistic note that the “adequately funded, transparent and sustainable system of financing socio-economic development is still far”, J&K Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu has listed the changes that have impacted the public expenditure in last few years. It is his fourth budget in a row.

The most significant change, he said is that the overhead expenditure on spending funds for development have gone down. Earlier, the system would require spending Rs 5.62 for booking a development expenditure of Re 1 in 2014-15. Now it has gone down to Rs 1.70 for a one rupee expenditure on development. He, however, insisted it is still very expensive and has a room for more changes.

Drabu said the intervention at various levels have changed and refined the situation to the extent that it is beyond what he expected.

Against the expectations of collecting a tax of Rs 9931 crore, it has actually been RS 10,000 crore. The unfunded gap was RS 3000 crore in the budget and it has gone down to Rs 1300 crore. The fiscal deficit was anticipated to be at 9.5 percent and it has nosedived to 5.7 percent.

Drabu said the rush to treasury in the last quarter of the financial year that would involve Rs 3000 crore has become history. No re-appropriations were made by the end of Q3 and most of the devolutions to the departments stands spent already.

Even liabilities, Drabu said, have been greatly managed. J&K had Rs 11000 crore liabilities including 7000 crore of power. Now departmental liabilities have gone down to Rs 600 crore and power liabilities by around half. This was partly because of the conversion of power liabilities into bonds, low cost ones.

Almost Rs 2000 crore non-plan expenditure has moved from plan to the regular side.

“Let me assert that this Budget is by far the most transparent and technically correct budget presented to this House,” Drabu insisted. He attributed it to the robust system of public finance management that he built in last three years.

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