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2015-16: J&K got Rs 11,838.96 cr grant from Centre, most to any state in India

Author: Nisar Dharma
Publication: The Kashmir Monitor
Date: December 16, 2016
URL:      https://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/114329/2015-16-jk-got-rs-11838-96-cr-grant-from-centre-most-to-any-state-in-india

The Centre has released a whopping Rs 11, 838, 96, 93, 000 (eleven thousand eight hundred thirty eight crore, ninety six lakh, ninety three thousand) in the form of ‘Grant In Aid’ to Jammu and Kashmir in the financial year 2015-16, the most to any state in India in the period.

According to the data compiled by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, the aggregated amount was released in 47 sanctions to the state during the last fiscal in three categories including Block Grants, Grants under the proviso to Article 275(1) of the constitution, and Special Assistance, each with 29, 16 and 02 sanctions, respectively.

A large chunk of the funds (Rs 10,489.22 crore) has come in the form of ‘Grants sanctioned under the proviso to Article 275(1)’ of the Indian constitution under which the selected states are provided financial aid in addition to the normal Central Assistance.

Under the category, J&K received 12 installments of Rs 824 crore each for the fiscal 2015-16 on account of post-devolution revenue deficit grant.
 
The data also reveals that two sanctions of Rs 186.98 crore (S0582-15 dated 13.07.15) and Rs 180.74 crore (S1587-15 dated 16.03.16) were released on account of basic grant to J&K Rural Local Bodies.

Similarly, two more sanctions of Rs 114.50 crore (S0153-15 dated 16.04.15) and Rs 115.00 crore (S1592-15 dated 18.03.2016) were released on account of Centre's contribution to State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) during 2015-16.

The funds, as per the Article 275(1), are provided to the selected states “to enable them to meet the costs of such schemes of development as may be undertaken by the State with the approval of the Government of India for the purpose of promoting the welfare of Scheduled Tribes in that State or raising the level of administration of the Scheduled Areas therein to that of the administration of the rest of the areas of that State”.

The remaining sums of Rs 1194.84 crore and Rs 154.89 crores were released under two ‘Special Assistance’ sanctions and 29 ‘Block Grant’ sanctions, respectively.

Among the Rs 1194.84 crore of ‘Special Assistance’ sanctioned to J&K, Rs 1194.37 crore was a part of the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (2004) and Flood Rehabilitation Plan 2014.

The remaining Rs 47 lakhs were sanctioned for developing water resources.

With Rs 11,838.96 crore, J&K figured at the top in the list of the 30 states receiving ‘Grant In Aid’ from the Centre followed by West Bengal (Rs 11466.21 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1021.86 crore).

The states are the only ones that received over Rs 10,000 crore each of ‘Grant In Aid’ during 2015-16.

Goa, being the smallest state in India, showed up as the one receiving the least amount (Rs 20.77 crores).

Accountant General (Audit) J&K, Hoveyda Abbas told The Kashmir Monitor that the “figure could be more” since each year the state receives around Rs 15,000-20,000 crore in the shape of grants, loans, etc.

“The total budget in the state last year was around Rs 48,000 crore and this year it may jump to Rs 55,000 to Rs 60,000 crore. The state revenue is not more than Rs 8500-9000 crore; around Rs 15,000 to Rs 16000 crore come from the central devolution of taxes, the rest of the money, which is around Rs 15,000-20000 crore, comes in the form of grants, loans, etc.,” said Abbas.

He added that his office was in the process of compiling the Finance Account Book for the year 2015-16.

“For every year, the AG office compiles the finance account book of the state. For 2015-16, the book is under preparation and may be ready in a month’s time and will be submitted to the state government,” he said.

“There are two offices, AG office (Audit) handled by me, and AG (in-charge pension and accounts) which is responsible for compiling and consolidating the state government’s all financial transactions as well as the vouchers, accounts, grants received, etc. So this figure will be finally available in that book. As of now, there may not be a concrete figure that we can give,” he said.

Explaining the nature of funds received by J&K from the Centre, Abass said that one source of the funds is the revenue devolution that is the share of the state government in the central taxes (CST, Income Tax etc) which the Finance Commission allocates to each state including J&K.

The other source is Centrally Sponsored Schemes under which grants come to the state.

When asked about grants sanctioned under Article 275 (1), he said that those were the Finance Commission grants for the state to meet its capital expenditure.

“You see, we receive a lot of money through Finance Commissions; 13th financial commission gave around Rs 18,000 crore as grants, and now we are receiving funds through 14th Finance Commission,” he said.

The AG (Audit) also pointed out that the figure given by the Union Ministry of Finance is the one that they have released to the state.

He, however, asked this reporter to contact State’s Finance Ministry to know whether the money was actually received and how exactly was the grant spent.

Despite repeated attempts to reach him by phone, Commissioner Secretary, Finance, Navin Kumar Choudhary was not available for comments.
 
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