Other UTs without legislature spend 62 % funds; Ladakh just 27 %
Committee recommends MHA to monitor utilization of funds
Srinagar, Mar 19: A parliamentary panel has flagged serious concerns over the under-utilization of the first budgetary allocation made to the Union Territory of Ladakh.
In its report, the department-related parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs has expressed disappointment over the low spending of the budgetary allocation made to the UT of Ladakh for 2020-21. “The committee notes that all UTs without legislature have utilized around 62.25% of the total allocation made to them in RE 2020-21. The committee is aware that the UT of Ladakh was created last year and a separate budget allocation was made for its all-round development. But, the committee is disappointed to note that in its first budgetary allocation, the UT of Ladakh has utilized just 27.42% of the allocation made in RE 2020-21,” reads the report, a copy of which is in possession of a news agency.
In the Union budget for 2020-21, the Finance Ministry allocated Rs 5958 crore for Ladakh UT, which was part of the erstwhile state of J&K before October 31, 2019.
The panel headed by Anand Sharma of Congress recommended that that the MHA should closely monitor the fund utilization by the UT of Ladakh in the ensuing year and take necessary corrective steps for enhanced utilization of funds in the UT.
It also recommended that the ministry may take up with the UT administration to remove bottlenecks and ensure optimal utilization of funds in the UT from ensuing year. “The committee recommends that the special development package (SDP) may be made non-lapsable for few years to cater to the developmental need of newly created UT,” the report states.
In its defence, the administration of Ladakh UT cited COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for low utilization of budgetary funds.
The panel was informed by it that working season was lost in lockdown imposed due to Covid-19 pandemic and unlock started in off season, the report states.
It also submitted that Ladakh depends on labour coming from outside. “Due to lockdown, the execution of works was affected. As a result, the responses to the tenders were also affected,” the administration apprised the panel.
The administration of UT apprised the committee that central public sector undertakings, which were allotted projects, took time to establish their offices in the UT. “Various projects have been given to Central Public Sector Undertaking(s) like CPWD, NHIDCL and WAPCOS. They took time to establish their offices in the UT of Ladakh for planning/execution of projects entrusted to them,” reads the report.