New Haryana govt blames previous Congress regime for fiscal mess

 Blaming the previous Congress regime in the state for "fiscal mess", Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu on Friday said the new government will focus on boosting economic growth and equitable development of the state.

PTI| Updated: Mar 20, 2015, 21:58 PM IST

Chandigarh: Blaming the previous Congress regime in the state for "fiscal mess", Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu on Friday said the new government will focus on boosting economic growth and equitable development of the state.

However, the state government said it would be difficult to bring the state's fiscal situation on track "within one or two years".

While replying on the general discussion on the budget estimates, Haryana FM also accused the previous government of giving "undue favour to certain individuals" at the cost of state's fiscal health.

Citing a case of "unrecovered" revenue of Rs 15,000 crore of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the minister said the previous government "failed" to act in recovering the revenue which could have been used for plan or capital expenditure.

"...The revenue should have been gone into the state exchequer. But everybody knows that the previous government worked to give undue favour to certain individuals," he alleged.

He said Rs 11,500 crore should have been credited into HUDA account which had been lying with private builders and a payment of Rs 3,500 crore was paid as income tax which could have been prevented by maintaining accounting practices.

On this, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "...If you have courage, then go and recover it."

Asserting that Haryana's economy offers "immense potential" in generating revenue, Narnaund MLA said the state government will make use of information technology and computers for raising the revenue by bringing transparency and removing corrupt practices.

With a projected revenue deficit of Rs 9,500 crore, Haryana FM expressed surprise over the "deferred expenditure" of Rs 1,778 crore and Rs 2,210 crore projected as "excess revenue" by the previous government.

Several schemes worth Rs 2,025 crore were floated without making provision in the state budget by previous government in 2013-14 in the wake of ensuing elections, he said.

He said expenditure to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore for 2013-14 was deferred to year 2014-15 for payment.

Referring to the Opposition charge of the revenue deficit going up and the fiscal deficit not being contained, Capt Abhimanyu blamed the previous government for the same.

Only 46.59 per cent of the Budget receipts had been collected upto October 2014 when present government took reign of the administration. "With concerted efforts, we have achieved gross revenue receipts of 83 pc so far," he said.

On the issue of FRBM Act for revenue and fiscal deficit, he said that State government would ensure minimizing the revenue deficit and borrowing, if any, would be within the prescribed limits.

The debt whatsoever taken would be utilised for planned expenditure and capital expenditure, he said.

However, he said, "We could not rectify (the fiscal situation) in 1 or 2 years but whatever will do that will be in the interest of state."

Haryana FM said that public expenditure has been enhanced across various segments and fiscal corrections effected by increasing the ratio of both plan as well as capital expenditure.

"We have identified thrust areas including infrastructure development, skill up-gradation and generation of employment through enhanced activities in the agricultural and allied sector and on micro, small and medium industries. The focus has been set on pacing up development of the state," he said.

Referring to white paper recently released by the government, he said that the previous regime had badly indulged in "mismanagement of finances".

Replying to the debate on his Budget proposals in the Vidhan Sabha today, he addressed the concerns articulated by some members, and allayed their apprehensions, saying that the proposals would not only spur growth but also ensure balanced distribution of resources across various sectors and regions, and put an end to the prevailing regional disparities.

He said that education sector has been given 13.23 per cent more allocation in this budget as compared to last year. Similarly, allocations to health sector have been hiked by 14. 45 per cent, social welfare by 16.67 per cent, industries by 25.6 per cent and agriculture and allied sector by 20.49 per cent which is about 60 percent more as compared to allocation of year 2013-14, he said.

In Rural Development, allocation to infrastructure development had been increased by 22.03 per cent and in urban development by 34.3 per cent, he said.

He said that budget for year 2015-16 would spur growth and development oriented for all including 21 districts, 90 assembly constituencies and more than 6500 villages.

Referring to the 800 MW Supercritical Thermal Power plant at Panipat, he said that it would be commissioned by the HPGCL and the state government would contribute only 30 per cent of the project cost as equity support.

This Rs 1,200-crore support is to be given over three years, and the rest is to be borrowed as debt by the HPGCL.

"So, let me assure the CLP leader that her apprehension of outlay to power sector being insufficient is not well founded and that the government is aware and committed about its support to creating additional power generation assets", he added.

Allaying the apprehensions that sufficient allocation has not been made for the vulnerable sections, especially the Scheduled Castes, the Finance Minister said that a sum of Rs 4,215.21 crore had been allocated to the Scheduled Caste Sub Plans (SCSP) in 2014-15, while the provision in 2015-16 is Rs 4,729.39 crore, an increase of Rs 514 crore.