Published Date: November 4, 2021
$2,000 cr. in unused funds
identified: Thiaga Rajan
The Minister hints at opening a payments bank
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CHENNAI
A special task force established by the government has identified ₹2,000 crore unutilised by government departments and agencies, and the sum can be returned to the treasury, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said on Monday.
Briefing journalists at the Secretariat, he underscored the need for a mechanism to prevent idling of funds and hinted at measures like opening of a payments bank
As mentioned in the Budget for 2021-22, a special task force was constituted to reconcile, identify and access the funds of government departments, government run societies, statutory Institutions and local bodies that were kept outside the treasury within a time frame. The task force collected and collated information broadly under the categories available balances, liabilities and to be remitted to government accounts separately under each of the closed schemes, the ongoing schemes and receipts of the departments, he explained From the data collected, the task force traced about 21,946.31 crore that could immediately be remitted back to the government account
Mr. Thiaga Rajan said the government was incurring ₹1,200 crore on account of the reduction in the VAT on petrol and allocated ₹200 crore for 'Illam Thedi Kalvi (education at the doorsteps). "Now, we have identified ₹2,000 crore in unutilised funds. Such an exercise will help us use funds in a better way and cut unnecessary extra expenditure."
The details of bank accounts wherein government money was parked as on March 31, 2021 were collected from banks, the Collectors, government departments and other quasi-government entities Mr. Thiaga Rajan said. The task force conducted meetings with government departments and the State-level bankers committee to build a reliable database. "The ₹2,000 crore identified is just a trailer; the whole picture remains to be seen, and runs into thousands of bank accounts."
Further amounts of unutilised funds could be identified for return to the treasury. Hence, the tenure of the task force would be extended up to March 31, 2022, and the task force would be asked to do field-based audit and reconciliation. The findings would be discussed with the Chief Minister, and he would decide how to use these funds
Mr. Thiaga Rajan said the parking of funds outside the treasury was not a secret, and it had been flagged by the Comptroller and Audi. tor-General. The government was readying infrastructure for opening a payments bank, and would seek a license from the Reserve Bank of India. The payments bank would help to ensure transfer of benefits directly to the beneficiary.
Through the Integrated Financial and Human Resources Management System, funds from the treasury would be directly disbursed to pensioners, government employees receiving salaries, old age pensioners and scholarship recipients and final payments for works and supply of goods and services. This would prevent idling of a substantial portion of the Budget, he said.
The Finance Minister said a State-level public financial management system would be implemented to track the flow of funds till they reached the beneficiary, and more funds would be given only after the sum previously released was utilized.
Media: Hindu Tamil