No more overdraft, yet no payments

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IMPHAL, October 12: For the first time in the current financial year 2012-13 the financial overdraft of the state government has been wiped clean a few days back, according to reliable sources in the government.

Sources in the state Finance Department said, as of today Manipur’s financial position stands at Rs 401 crores after the overdraft has been cleared according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) figures.

Yet, the state finance department is mulling over the issue of priorities and it is still reluctant to fully lift the ban on payments as it would again lead to more serious financial problems including overdraft, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the state Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who also holds the crucial portfolio of Finance is now stationed in New Delhi and he is due to visit Australia.

Sources further said, till the Chief Minister comes back to the state capital the finance department will not make its move.

Yet, it may opt for piecemeal release of funds based on priorities fixed by the Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, it added.

It may be recalled here that, Manipur began with a negative balance at the beginning of the current financial year 2012-13 and it has been withholding payment to several government bills including that of the engineering departments.

Meanwhile, many of the state government employees had not been getting their monthly salaries for the past six months.

The financial year had started with an overdraft of nearly Rs 495 crores which has adversely affected the expenditure pattern for the first year of the 12th Five Year Plan.

The impact of the overdraft was so severe that every month of this year ended with a negative cash balance.

Although most of the engineering departments including the state PWD had deposited the un-utilised funds of the last financial year in the 8449 suspense account, the funds could not be withdrawn due to the overdraft.

It may be mentioned here that, the centre’s component of most of the centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) were put on hold by various ministries for lack of utilisation certificates (UC) to be submitted by the state government.

Authoritative sources in the government said, if the finance department chooses to release the funds in the 8449 account many of departments may be able to submit the pending utilisation certificates and the resultant release of central funds may bring further relief to state finances.

According to the budget estimates of 2012-13, a total expenditure of Rs 3,500 crore is under Plan and Rs 4366.14 crore under the Non-Plan while Rs 568.50 crore under central sponsored schemes, central plan schemes, NEC schemes was projected by the state government in the last assembly session.

Under the Non Plan Revenue Account, the salary expenditure for the year is projected at Rs 2175.77 crore, which is 52 % of the total Non-Plan expenditure. It includes Rs 689.41 crore for the Police, Rs 548.02 crore for the Education Department and Rs 134.42 crore for the Health Department. Pension expenditure is projected at Rs 679.71 crore.

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