Govt takes Rs 14,714 cr worth Vote-on-Account for 3 months

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March  28:The State Government today took Vote-on-Account (VoA) worth Rs 14,714 crores for first three months of upcoming financial year of 2016-17 giving the new PDP-BJP Government, which was expected to take oath in next few days, the time till June 30 to pass the full-fledged budget.
Apart from adopting the Vote-on-Account, the State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by Governor NN Vohra also passed supplementary expenditure for ongoing financial year of 2015-16 to the tune of Rs 7160 crores.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Governor used the Legislative powers vested in him to take the Vote-on-Account (VoA), which indirectly stands for budget of the State. He took the VoA for first three months of the 2016-17 financial year though it can be taken for maximum of six months.
“The PDP-BJP Government, headed by Mehbooba Mufti, which was now scheduled to be formed in the next few days, has gained time till June 30, 2016 to present and pass full-fledged budget in the Legislature,” sources said, adding that the Legislative Assembly, which was under suspended animation since January 8 when Governor’s Rule was imposed in the State, will be revived the day Mehbooba takes oath as the Chief Minister and the Governor’s Rule is revoked by Vohra.
Out of Rs 14,714 crores worth Vote-on-Account adopted today in the SAC meeting, the Governor has kept provision of Rs 9105 crores under Revenue Account (expenditure of the Government including salaries, pensions and all kind of Government expenses) and Rs 5609 crores on account of Capital Expenditure, which is meant exclusively for developmental works.
Soon after taking the Vote-on-Account for first three months of next financial year, starting April 1, the Government approved release of first quarter appropriation of 2016-17 by or before March 31, 2016, which will ensure that all kind of developmental works go on without any interruption and there were no hurdles in the release of salaries and pension of Government staff and pensioners.
This was for the first time in last seven years that the Government had to take VoA instead of presenting full budget in the month of March. Then Finance Minister A R Rather had presented last VoA in March 2009 when NC- Congress coalition Government was formed in the State on January 5, 2009. He had presented full budget in August 2009 at Srinagar.
However, former Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu had presented full budget in 2015 within 22 days of the formation of PDP-BJP Government. The Government was formed on March 1, 2015 and the budget was presented on March 22, 2015.
In addition to adopting the Vote-on-Account, the SAC also approved Supplementary Budget for ongoing financial year of 2015-16 to the tune of Rs 7160 crores including Rs 3584 crores as Revenue Expenditure and Rs 3576 crores as Capital Expen-diture.
“The Revised Estimates are necessitated before the end of ongoing financial year to match the expenditure on both accounts including the Government expenses and the developmental works,” sources said, adding the Revised Estimates normally were approved in the budget presented by an elected Government before the Legislature.
However, since there was no elected Government in place and the Legislature session couldn’t be held, the Governor used his Legislature powers to adopt the Vote-on-Account for first three months of next financial year and Revised Estimates for current fiscal year.
The previous PDP-BJP Government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was ready with presentation of full budget before the Legislature on January 22, having called the budget session from January 18, but due to the death of Sayeed on January 7, the session was called off as the Assembly was kept under suspended animation after imposition of Governor’s Rule in the State on January 8.
Even after Governor’s Rule, the administration was ready with full budget that was scheduled to be taken up on March 15. However, as possibilities of revival of the PDP-BJP Government grew, the Governor didn’t adopted the full budget and waited till today to take Vote-on-Account for three months, which would facilitate the Government expenses and developmental works and will give three months time to the new Government to call the Legislature session and present full budget for 2016-17.
Parvez Dewan and Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, Advisors to the Governor; B.R. Sharma, Chief Secretary and B.B. Vyas, Financial Commissioner, Planning and Development Department attended the meeting of the SAC that took the VoA.
Navin K. Choudhary, Comm-issioner/Secretary, Finance Dep-artment made a presentation on the proposals before the SAC.

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