Debt-Ridden JK Govt Living Beyond Means: CAG Report19 April 2011
Srinagar: Highlighting Jammu and Kashmir’s alarming debt situation, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has put the total liability of the state at nearly Rs29,000 crore till 2009 -10, and pulled up a string of high-profile ministries for exceeding budgetary limits on expenditure by a whopping Rs 423 crore in the last fiscal alone despite a crippling cash crunch. To avoid being cornered by the opposition for its profligate ways, the government had tabled the latest CAG report in the assembly on the last day of the budget session this year, averting yet another onslaught on its performance, but portions of the document have been appearing in the media ever since, serving as a reminder of the state’s gross financial mismanagement. According to the report, the state’s debt-raising spree had gone up by 18 per cent during the past two years of the NC-Congress coalition, and the CAG has advised the government to frame a ‘serious and long-term policy’ to clear its liability if it wanted further assistance from the central finance commission. The massive debt, with an internal component of Rs 15,449 crore, virtually mortgages the state to the centre, financial institutions and banks. Regardless of Jammu and Kashmir’s untenable financial situation, a number of ministries headed by leading and pivotal figures in the coalition government have been shown to have indulged in reckless spending, far exceeding their budgetary allocations in an exercise revealed by the opposition outcry in the assembly this session to have been a blatant misuse of public funds to promote the interests of the parties in power. The ministries named by the CAG have the education department at the top of list with its spending exceeding its budget by Rs 193.15 crore in the last fiscal, followed by the social welfare department with Rs 62.23 crore, the rural development department with Rs 51.12 crore and the agriculture department with Rs 49.35 crore.