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Annual Plan: Gujarat govt spent well on infrastructure, industry, neglected rural development, irrigation

By Our Representative
Fresh information disseminated by Gujarat’s independent budget-analysis centre, Pathey, has revealed that the Gujarat government has failed to spend a whopping Rs 5,712.56 crore in the annual plan for the financial year 2013-14, which comes to around 9.68 per cent of the total annual plan allocation, Rs 59,000 crore. Annual plan is the sum total of developmental expenditure a state seeks to incur over the year in order to render different socio- economic services to larger sections of population. Data suggest the state spends well when it comes to industry and infrastructure, but is a poor spender on social sector.
The annual plan does not include the so-called “necessary expenditure” which government must incur, for instance, for paying salary to government servants and debt servicing. Commenting on the shortfall, which has by now become an annual phenomenon, Pathey comments, “While it is a good sign that the Gujarat government has allocated Rs 71,330.44 crore as developmental expenditure for the current financial year, 2014-15, the fact remains that most of the government departments failed to spend amount allocated to them as annual plan.”
“While the total expenditure under the annual plan 2013-14 has been estimated at Rs 53,287.44 crore, expenditure under several heads suggests poor spending too”, Pathey says, adding, “The agriculture department failed to spend Rs 400.52 crore during the year, while rural development – which includes rural employment – failed to spend Rs 922.24 crore, or nearly 50 per cent, of the total allocation of Rs 1,844.13 crore.” Further: “On such social services such as education, health, water and social welfare the state government failed to spend Rs 3,927.06 crore, which is 15.81 per cent of the allocation (Rs 24831.4 crore).”
The situation is not very different for spending under other heads, Pathey says. Thus, for irrigation and flood control, the total spending came to 62.79 per cent of the allocation (Rs 12,735.12 crore), on science and technology the spending was 85.53 per cent of the allocated amount (Rs 423.06 crore), on general economic services the spending was 84.31 per cent of the allocated amount Rs 1,786.03 crore, on developing the border areas the spending was just 46.87 per cent of the allocated amount (Rs 229.45), and so on.
Pathey comments, “While there is a talk of development, the state’s malnutrition level remains high. According to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS), the infant mortality rate in Gujarat is 38 per 1,000 live births, which is higher than several states. Same is the case with the maternal mortality rate, which is 122 out of 1 lakh pregnant women. Further, while male literacy in Gujarat is 87.23 per cent, the female literacy is just about 70.13 per cent – which suggests a whopping gap of 17 per cent”.
Pathey further says that the Gujarat government has failed to spend the full amount it allocated for the budget for the “tribal welfare, development and social security. Thus, as against the allocation of Rs 2850.73 crore, the state government could spend Rs 2692.41 crore in 2013-14, which suggests that Rs 158.31 crore remained unspent on tribals.” The unspent amount comes to 5.65 per cent of the allocation. It adds, “Out of 47 different heads, for which tribal budget is allocated, 24 are such where expenditure fell short of allocation.”
The budget analysis suggests that only in three industry and infrastructure-related sectors the Gujarat government was able to not just spend enough amount but actually overspent, suggesting that funds to these may have been transferred from the social sector to please the corporates – energy and petrochemicals 176.29 per cent (the allocation was Rs 4996.1 crore), industry and petrochemicals 127.8 per cent (allocation was Rs 2455 crore), and transport 110.06 per cent (allocation was Rs 5006.7 crore). Pathey offers no comment on why this may have happened.

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