Assam: The fiscal position of the State is viewed in terms of three key fiscal parameters Revenue Deficit/ Surplus, Fiscal Deficit/ Surplus, and the ratio of Outstanding Debt to GSDP. The State could achieve Revenue Surplus during two of the last five years.
During 2018-19, the Revenue Surplus as per Finance Accounts was 3 6,580 crore. However, after adjusting for misclassification of revenue items under capital category and a few other items, the Revenue Surplus of the State goes down to C 1,291 crore during 2018-19.
The State was successful in containing the Fiscal Deficit below three percent of GSDP in four out of the last five years, and had in fact, a Fiscal Surplus of 3,005 crore in 2015-16. It was also successful in reining in the Fiscal Deficit below three percent in 2018-19.
During the five-year period 2014-19, the outstanding debt of the State remained between 17.08 and 18.84 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and stood at t 59,426 crore as on 31 March 2019. The debt position remained below the norm of 28.50 percent of GSDP prescribed by the Assam Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2011.
Though the State Government’s Revenue Receipts increased by 17.27 percent during 2018-19 compared to the previous year, the State continued to be dependent on Gol, Central transfers and Grants-in-Aid, which constituted 62 per cent of the revenue. Own Tax Revenue of the State during 2018-19 increased by 20.50 per cent over the previous year mainly on account of SGST which constituted 52.70 per cent of the Own Tax Revenue during 2018-19. Non-Tax Revenue of the State increased significantly by 102 per cent during 2018-19 over the previous year mainly due to receipts of royalties on crude oil (Z 5,637 crore) under Petroleum. Development expenditure of the State, as well as expenditure on health and education, Was 67.96, 6.80, and 22.96 per cent of Aggregate Expenditure of the State. The State had performed better in comparison to the other Special Category States. The State Government has not discharged its complete liability on National Pension System for its employees. The short contribution of employer’s share was ` 346.92 crore and fund of 408.22 crore as on 31 March 2019 had not been transferred to the designated authority i.e., National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL).
In the State’s overall budget of 108,490 crore, overall savings were of 136,159 crore, constituting 33.33 per cent of total grants and appropriations. Supplementary Grants/ Appropriations were obtained without adequate justification, and large amounts were expended without budgetary provision. The Controlling Officers did not surrender the funds on time. Despite this issue every year over the last several years, the State Government had failed to take corrective measures in this regard. The Departments did not furnish explanations to the Accountant General (A&E) for variations in expenditure vis-a-vis allocations. This limits legislative control over budget as a means of ensuring financial accountability of the Government Departments were not cautioned against persistent savings; nor were their budgets revised in time in accordance with their ability to spend.
Booking of an expenditure of 14,879 crore under omnibus Minor Head 800 Other Expenditure thereby affecting transparency and accuracy in financial reporting. Various Government departments did not submit Utilisation Certificates worth 19,672 crore and Detailed Countersigned Contingent bills worth 966 crore as on March 31, 2019, for funds drawn for specific developmental programmes/ projects.
The Autonomous Councils, Development Bodies, and Authorities by not submitting their accounts on time had violated prescribed financial rules and directives pointing to inadequate internal controls and poor monitoring mechanism of the State Government, to enforce financial accountability.
The treasuries, public works divisions, and other account rendering units did not furnish requisite missing details which delayed clearance of suspense transactions. Controlling Officers of the State Government did not reconcile 47 percent of receipts and 74 percent of expenditure booked by them with the figures of the Accountant General (A&E) despite repeated reminders, thereby impacting the accuracy of the Finance and Appropriation Accounts.