Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday proposed to make certain important structural changes which would align the government’s development agenda with that of the Centre. Addressing the State Development Council (SDC) meeting here, the Chief Minister said that changes in a nutshell would be participatory budget preparation by engaging all stakeholders to give suggestions in budget formulation for 2017-18, an official communique informed.
He said a detailed pre-budget exercise would be held from first week of December by the Finance Department for holding wide consultations with all stakeholders including all concerned departments and by end of January, the Finance department would submit the draft budget to be placed before the Assembly.
“After passage of the state budget in the Assembly, the departments will initiate procedures for implementation of the budget allocated to them,” he said.
The SDC meeting is a prerequisite for development projects, its implementation and financial matters.
Khandu categorically said the Prime Minister has given him specific instructions on transparency and he is duty-bound to adhere to the orders.
“It is our collective duty to restore the image of governance in our state….The government is duty-bound to ensure this and needless to say, we shall deal with any violation with exemplary action,” he said.
Regretting that due to several unavoidable circumstances the SDC could not be held in time, the Chief Minister, however, emphasized that the single mandate for the government was to meet the aspirations of the common citizens by bringing in transparency in governance, and providing basic infrastructure, especially in remote rural areas.
“It was a collective decision of the government to hold the SDC meeting by all means,” he said.
The Chief Minister informed that the Centre has made certain structural changes in the budgeting exercise to be followed from the 2017-18 financial year.
The key changes are: Railway Budget has been subsumed within the General Budget and therefore, no separate Railway Budget will be presented in the ensuing Budget session, The Plan-Non Plan distinction has been dispensed with and now budget will be classified only in revenue and capital heads and the Union Budget session has been pre-poned and likely to be presented in the first week of February, instead of the traditional last week of February.
Pointing out that the impacts on the states are to be anticipated and necessary preparatory works initiated, he said the state government is planning to hold the budget Session for 2017-18 in the last week of February, just after celebration of the Statehood Day.
Khandu said the developmental activities which have so far been taken up in SDC meeting would form part of the budget document to allow departments’ sufficient lead time to plan and execute works and leave no room for uncertainty and delay.
Further, he said, the SDC would be responsible for holding quarterly meetings to review, monitor the implementation, and financial performance of each department would be closely monitored to maintain tight fiscal discipline.
In the present financial year, as the departments have only 3-4 months for implementation of the schemes and projects, the Chief Minister advised all to project their respective requirements which could only be completed in this fiscal after following all codal formalities.
Khandu made it clear that projects taken up with the normal state funds shall stand lapsed, if not completed by March 31 next.
“Payments will be made on physical progress and adherance to codal formalities,” he said.
“These schemes shall not be carried forward in Part V and shall be reflected in the next budget as ongoing scheme.
However, centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) projects shall continue in the old system,” Khandu added.
The SDC meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the portfolios of Planning and Finance, Speaker T N Thongdok, Deputy Speaker Alo Libang, cabinet ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Commissioners, Secretaries and other senior functionaries of the state government, the communiqué added.