A cursory glance over the recent budget document laid before the House by the state’s finance minister reveals an astonishingly dismal state of affairs. The statement points to the severity of the economic disorganisation the state has been pushed into.
It had every ingredient of the conventional budget that twenty eight states of the union present before their respective houses of lawmakers; however the only difference being that ours was clueless as how to fund the developmental activities of the state. It is no hidden fact that the state government is being funded by centre and the finance minister was just manipulating words to justify his portfolio besides, adhering to the conventions of several decades.
Out of the total budgetary estimates of 31212 crore for the current financial year, around 73 percent has to go into revenue expenditure, leaving a meagre 27 percent of it to fund the developmental initiatives throughout the state. Of the 22752 crore of the revenue expenditure, an enormous sum of Rs 15916 crore would be paid as salary to government employees and pensioners,
Rs 2363 crore and Rs 1174 crore will go towards payment of interest and repayment of loans respectively. The rest will be used to cater to the energy demands of the state. The salary component has been increasing at a very fast rate in the past several years, with the latest being a substantial hike in the salaries and pensions of lawmakers themselves. This leaves a sum of Rs. 8460 crore for developmental works in both Plan and Non-plan sectors.
Adding salt to wounds are the startling revelations about the bills incurred on the public purse on account of the high profile life style of ministers and other law makers.
With around six lakh registered unemployed youth and an invisible private sector, coupled with the political turmoil the state is facing since last two decades, the government seems to be pushing the entire state into a quandary in the absence of any major initiatives of funding development. Development of basic infrastructure in the state is what seems to be an immediate remedial measure.
Funding projects towards building the basic infrastructure will not only improve the confidence of small investors which will lead to the development of small scale industry in the state but multiplier effect created by such investment will boost the overall economy. Efforts to rein in burgeoning non-productive government expenditure should be made on priority basis, besides non-partisan approach should be adopted during the allocation of funds to different constituencies of the state.