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J&K pays heavy price for arbitrary decisions taken by political regimes
Structural imbalances in past Budgets accumulated liabilities
2/26/2021 11:17:04 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Feb 26: Former political regimes led by National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took arbitrary decisions during their rule that led to huge revenue loss and accumulation of liabilities.
The Power Development Department (PDD) was directly handled by the by the political regimes as de-bundling and power reforms were not achieved till J&K was turned into a Union Territory. Hence, the receipts and expenditure on procurement and supply of electricity formed part of the State Government accounts. Steadily rising gap between the Revenue Expenditure of the Power Development Department and Revenue Receipts was the most significant structural imbalance in the Budget of the Government and a drain on the resources, which could otherwise have been deployed for developmental outlays.
According to the details available with Early Times the targets for the collection of tariffs were not achieved during 2013-14 to 2017-18. During 2017-18, Receipt on account of sale of power was Rs 3,151 crore against the target of Rs 4,841 crore. The revenue realised from sale of power was less than the cost of purchase in all the years. The State had set its revenue collection targets lower than the cost of purchase. This less realization of revenue against cost of power purchase during respective years was a burden on the State. Difference between cost of purchase of power and actual revenue realised from sale of power was on account of operational inefficiencies and slow implementation of power reforms. Jammu and Kashmir had very high AT&C losses (50 per cent) which was much higher than that of the neighboring state of Himachal Pradesh where AT&C losses were just eight per cent.
During 2017-18, the department purchased power worth Rs 5,709 crore against which it paid only Rs 3,036 crore to the power producers, thus creating liability on account of power purchase. The department had a liability of Rs 7,018 crore on account of unpaid power purchase bills.
The State Government was showing revenue surplus of Rs 7,595 crore but after taking into account the deferred liability on account of outstanding power bills amounting to Rs 7,018 crore, the revenue surplus was reduced to that extent.
It was also earlier reported by this newspaper how the Public Accounts Receipts decreased from Rs 35,983 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 30,697 crore, disbursements also decreased from 33,586 in 2016-17 to 30,861 in 2017-18 mainly because of less receipt/disbursement under remittances as compared to the previous year. The excess of receipts over disbursement was Rs 2,397 crore in 2016-17 and it has come down to minus Rs 164 crore in 2017-18 mainly because of excess disbursement of remittance over receipts during 2017-18.
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