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FM asks states to spend from beginning of the fiscal itself

By Super

New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) Expressing concern about various Ministries and State Governments' inability to absorb allocations, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today asked them to spend from the first week of April itself to ensure that 66 per cent of budget allocations are utilised for the intended schemes and projects.

Replying to the debates on two Appropriation Bills, the Finance Minister said many states were virtually sitting on the huge cash reserves of Rs 45,000 crores and wondered why these governments were not spending right from day one to ensure the projects and programmes take off in the right course. The Ministries and state governments have enough money and if they spend it from day one it would mean ensuring purchasing power in the hands of the people.

The two Bills as passed by the Lok Sabha were returned after a debate authorising the government to appropriate certain sums from the Consolidated Fund of India for 2005-06.

He said the tendency among the Departments and Ministries was to sit on the reserved till March end which which was not the best way of handling the allocations. ''Many times the allocated funds are returned without utilisation,'' he said adding that it was not the Centre's fault but the states' ability to spend and provide utilisation certificates.

It is important to spend wisely and prudently and timely to keep up the growth rate.

Stating that the Government was on a ''virtuous path'', he appealed to the members that nothing should be done to hinder investment and growth and help agricultural sector to touch four per cent growth from the current less than two per cent levels.

Holding the faulty policies of NDA government responsible for the economy's inability to check the fiscal deficit levels touching six per cent during its regime, Mr Chidambaram said after corrective measures initiated, the fiscal deficit had been restored at 4.1 per cent level. High deficit levels seldom left moneys to be spent on capital investments forcing Parliament to come out with a law to check fiscal deficits.



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