New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) A parliamentary panel has expressed its frustration over the perennial problem of underutilisation of budgetary allocations by the Union minority affairs ministry and said it would not make any more suggestion to the ministry on the matter.Also Read - BJP Fields New Faces in Five More Constituencies, Axes Raman Singh's Son And 4 Other Sitting MPs in Chhattisgarh
The trigger for the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment’s comment was the ministry spending only 66.58 per cent of the Rs 4,195.48 crore up to February 20. Also Read - PANEL-SC/ST ACT SC/ST Act: Par panel likely to recommend review of SC order
The committee, chaired by BJP MP Ramesh Bais, noted that the underutilisation of funds was more or less due to the same reasons which were adduced by the ministry last year . Also Read - NCM almost ineffective to deal with cases of atrocities against minorities: Parliamentary panel
The panel, in its 53rd report, has also observed it has now become a perennial problem of the ministry and that it is almost helpless to stop the trend of spending 30 per cent to 40 per cent of their allocation in “about last month” of the financial year.
The committee said when it asked if the underutilisation would not impact fund allocation by the finance ministry, the minority affairs ministry told it that it would seek exemption from the ministry of finance .
The committee said the minority affairs ministry should not take it for granted that it would always get the nod from the finance ministry.
In case the finance ministry does not grant the exemption, the minority affairs ministry may imagine the fate of those schemes whose amount would finally remain unspent as has already happened in the past , the committee added.
It said the minority affairs ministry is well aware that it was criminal to refund the unused money as it also affects the ministry’s future budget estimates and revised estimates.
As all the suggestions given by the committee all these years to follow the financial jurisprudence have not made any impact on the working of the ministry in the matter, the Committee would not like to comment on this aspect anymore.
The committee leave it to the wisdom of the ministry to devise ways and means to follow the guidelines issues by the Ministry of Finance as far as possible, it said.
The committee, however, did not specify the percentage of the ministry’s spending over the previous years.
The report was presented in Parliament last Thursday.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.