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Meghalaya CM Says Surrendering Funds Do Not Mean Stopping Schemes; It’s a Budget Process

Meghalaya Chief minister Conrad K Sangma. File pic: PTI

Meghalaya Chief minister Conrad K Sangma. File pic: PTI

The CM said the nomenclature used that the government has surrendered funds of over Rs 5,200 crore is completely incorrect.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said that the nomenclature used that the State government has surrendered funds of over Rs 5,200 crore is completely incorrect.

He was reacting to the state finances audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for the year ended March 31, 2020, tabled in the recently held autumn session of the State Assembly.

The report had stated, “Out of total savings of Rs 6,003.39 crore, an amount of Rs 5,242.30 crore was surrendered on the last working day of March 2020. Surrender of funds on the last working day of March denied utilisation of savings for other developmental purposes.”

Sangma further explained that there is a budget estimate that is prepared by every government and then there is an actual expenditure that takes place.

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“The difference between that is what the surrender is being referred to. So it is not an actual cash surrender or scheme surrender,” he said, adding “In the past years, amounts of Rs 3,000, Rs 4,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore have been surrendered.”

The Chief Minister also pointed out that States like Nagaland had surrendered Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 4,000 crore in previous years. Manipur surrendered Rs 4,000 crore, Telangana surrendered 38,000 crore, UP surrendered Rs 18,000 crore.

“So it is a normal procedure and process that takes place where the budget is prepared with aspirations, with a lot of calculation that we will be able to raise taxes and collect the amount and accordingly budgets are made,” he said.

“Based on that, budget estimates are created and when the expenditure takes place the actual expenditure may not reach to that amount simply because there are times when challenges come in, for example, we had Covid-19, where we had to lose taxes of almost about Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 crore. All these factors added up to it which leads to the situation where we were not able to spend as per estimates in the budget. So the difference between that is what is being referred to out here and it happens in every State in the country and it happens at the national level also. It is not as if we surrender a scheme that was already sanctioned and then we give it back, it is a notional amount which is there in the budget which cannot be spent,” he further explained.

Stating that it is the CAG’s work to bring out these aspects, Sangma said, “They are being brought out in every State government and it is happening in Meghalaya also before and for many years. Therefore, it is not an issue or situation where it is very unique to Meghalaya. Last year, Assam had to similarly surrender Rs 30,000 crore plus, Telangana also had to surrender that, UP had about Rs 18,000 crore. So that’s the norm and that’s the way things happened.”

He, however, said the matter was being misconstrued and misrepresented that it is the schemes that are being sent back which is not true at all since it is a phenomenon that happens every year.

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first published:September 28, 2021, 14:54 IST