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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Huge unspent money by Bengal's panchayat bodies deterrent for fresh allocation

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Kolkata, June 18 (Ajit Weekly News) Huge unspent money received by the three tiers of panchayat system in West Bengal during 2021-22 on account of the 15th Finance Commission has left no room for the state government to protest despite not a single penny under same head has reached the state exchequer during the first two and half months of the current financial year of 2022-23.

Highly placed state finance department sources told Ajit Weekly News that the huge unspent money to the tune of around Rs 2,670 crore by the three tiers of panchayat system namely Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats in the last financial year of 2021-22 has been carried forward to the current financial year of 2023.

Hence, no fresh fund allocation under the 15th Finance Commission had been made during the first two and half months of the current financial year and because of the unspent funds in the last financial year which is carried over to the current financial year, the state government is also not in a position to raise alerts over non-allocation of fresh funds.

Explaining the nature of allocation under Finance Commission, a top official from the state finance department said that as per rule till the end of the 14th Finance Commission period, 90 per cent of the state’s allotment was made for the three tiers of the panchayat system, while the remaining 10 per cent was allotted to the different state government departments. However, since the beginning of the 15th Finance Commission, the distribution ratio was slightly changed to 85 per cent for the panchayat tiers and the remaining 15 per cent for the different state government departments.

Repeated attempts to reach out to the state panchayat minister, Pulak Ray failed as his mobile phone was constantly out of range.

It is learnt that of the three tiers of the panchayat system, the performance as regards to the unused funds was for the 3,343 Gram Panchayats, whose total unspent fund in 2021-22 was to the tune of Rs 2,077 crore. The unspent money by 332 Panchayat Samitis was Rs 525 crore, while the same by the 17 Zilla Parishads was Rs 68 crore.

It is learnt that last month the state government had sent a note to the Union government on the pending dues of central funds under various heads like 100-days work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) and state’s share in goods and services tax (GST). However, in that note there was no mention of any dues under the 15th Finance Commission.

–Ajit Weekly News
src/skp/

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