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CAG pulls up former J&K govt on non-transparent expenditure


NEW DELHI: Non-transparent expenditure by the Jammu and Kashmir government “does not give a fair picture of its accounts”, said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, identifying fudging of more than Rs 10,000 crore in receipts and expenditure under the ‘minor head 800’. The report tabled before Parliament by the national accounting watchdog on J&K’s finances pertains to the PDP-BJP rule in the erstwhile state in 2017-18.

“Routine operation of minor head 800 for budgeting and accounting renders the accounts opaque without identifying the receipt, expenditure to its appropriate object of expenditure or revenue,” said the then CAG Rajiv Mehrishi in the report.

In financial reporting, there are provisions called ‘minor head 800-other expenditure’ and ‘minor head 800-other receipts’, where you cannot trace where the expenses are made or from where receipts are coming, said an official.

“The classification under minor head 800 worsened under minor head 800/other expenditure from 11.08 per cent in 2016-17 to 11.58 per cent in 2017-18. Classification of large amounts booked under the minor head ‘800’-other receipts does not give the fair picture in accounts,” said the report.

J&K was placed under governor’s rule in June 2018, after the BJP withdrew its support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP. Later, the state was placed under President’s rule, following which the Union government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, J&K is now a Union Territory (UT) with legislature.

In 2017-18, the state government was dependent on grants-in-aid from the Centre to the extent of 47 per cent of revenue receipts during 2017-18. Grants increased by Rs 2,104 crore to Rs 22,702 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 20,598 crore in 2016-17. The CAG’s review further stated that the total expenditure of the state increased to Rs 51,294 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 48,174 crore in the previous year. “The state’s own resources of Rs 13,898 crore during 2017-18 were not enough to cover its committed liabilities including salaries, interest payments, pensions and subsidies of Rs 27,500 crore,” it said.

According to the CAG, there were persistent errors in budgeting, savings and excess expenditures by the state government. “Excess expenditure requiring regularisation of the state legislature was Rs 1,14,061.35 crore, as on 31 March 2018,” said the report.

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