Central government grants to Puducherry show 1.7 per cent decline in two years: CAG report 

The decline in grants has significant implications as it constituted 31.03% of total revenue receipts for 2021-22.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

PUDUCHERRY:  The grant-in-aid from the Government of India has witnessed a decline over the past two fiscal years, according to a report released by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the year 2021-2022 in Puducherry assembly. In 2019-20, the grants amounted to Rs 2,668 crore fell to Rs 2,482 crore in 2020-21, and further to Rs 2,439 crore in 2021-22. The 2021-22 grants show a 1.73% decline compared to the previous year.

Grant constitutes 31.03% revenue receipts

The decline in grants has significant implications as it constituted 31.03% of total revenue receipts for 2021-22. However, there has been a contrasting surge in revenue receipts, which increased from Rs 5,890 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 7,859 crore in 2021-22. This increase of Rs 1,969 crore, marks a growth of 33.43%. The buoyancy of revenue receipts to Gross State Domestic Product also increased from 4.64% in 2020-21 to 6.63% in 2021-22.

Own tax revenue soars, arrears accumulate

The annual growth rate of own tax revenue saw an increase of 66.12% in 2021-22. However, the arrears of revenue, amounting to Rs 1067.90 crore is a concern.

Revenue expenditure on rise

The CAG report also reveals that during 2021-22, revenue expenditure increased by Rs 1,488 crore, marking a 20.50% increase from the previous year. It constituted a substantial 98.17% of the total expenditure. The GSDP increased from 20.34% in 2020-21 to 23.34% in 2021-22. The buoyancy of revenue expenditure with reference to revenue receipts during 2021-22 was 0.61%. Committed expenditure constituted 54.92% of revenue expenditure and 61.13% of revenue receipts during 2021-22.

In a concerning trend, capital expenditure witnessed a decrease. As compared to Rs 315 crore in 2017-18, the expenditure for 2021-22 stood at Rs 163 crore.

Pending projects and utilisation certificates

The report also highlights issues of stalled projects and unadjusted utilisation certificates. An amount of Rs 124.94 crore remained blocked in 60 incomplete projects by the PWD and electricity department. The PWD reported a committed pending liability of Rs 76.68 crore as of March 2022 towards payment to contractors.

Unadjusted advances and cases of misappropriation

As of March 31, 2022, 1,100 temporary advances, worth Rs 130.7 crore drawn by various Drawing and Disbursing Officers, remained unadjusted. Shockingly, 296 advances, worth Rs 17.65 crore, remained unadjusted for more than a decade.

The UT government reported 322 cases of misappropriation, loss, theft, and defalcation till March 2022, involving government funds of Rs 27.98 crore. Out of these, FIRs were lodged for only 50 cases.

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