CAG spots opaqueness in government finances

An increase of 16.54 percent in gross revenue receipts was primarily on account of a substantial increase in both tax revenue receipts and non-tax revenue receipts over previous year

GN Bureau | January 7, 2017

#CAG   #Tax   #revenue   #Finances  

“Opaqueness was noticed in 32 receipts and expenditure major heads wherein more than 50 percent of total expenditure and receipts were recorded under minor head - Other Expenditure/Other Receipts,” said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in a report on the accounts of the union government, which analyses the finances of the government for the year 2015-16.

CAG said that the financial position of the union government in 2015-16 was characterised by an increase of 16.54 percent in gross revenue receipts primarily on account of a substantial increase in both tax revenue receipts (16.93 percent) and non-tax revenue receipts (15.39 percent) over previous year.

The revenue expenditure grew by 4.98 percent during 2015-16 as against 7.62 percent in 2014-15. Expenditure on General Services constituted 45.22 percent of the revenue expenditure in 2015-16.

The report said that the revenue deficit for the year 2015-16 was 2.53 percent of GDP against the 2.93 percent of GDP in 2014-15. The revenue deficit of 2.53 percent of GDP was around the same level as outlined by the Fourteenth Finance Commission. The fiscal deficit for the year 2015-16 was 4.31 percent of GDP against the 4.13 percent of GDP in 2014-15.

“Thirteen regulatory bodies and autonomous bodies which also act as regulators in their respective field, had retained funds generated through fee charges, unspent grants received from government of India, interest accrued on government grants, receipt of license fees, corpus fund, etc. aggregating Rs 3,973.10 crore at the end of March 2016, outside the government account, contrary to the instructions issued by the ministry of finance in January 2005,” it added.

The report went on to say that against the total collection of Rs 73,468.52 crore as Secondary and Higher Education Cess (SHEC) in the CFI during 2006-07 to 2015-16, no amount could be transferred to the earmarked fund in Public Account as neither the schemes were identified on which the cess proceeds were to be spent nor the designated fund was opened in the Public Account to deposit the proceeds of SHEC.

“Total loan of Rs 2,56,353.52 crore was outstanding against State/UT Governments and other entities as on March 31, 2016. Out of this, repayment of Rs 26,333.68 crore was in arrears ranging from 2 to 50 years, which includes Rs 11,321.87 crore in arrears for more than 20 years (cases of more than Rs 10 crore).”

The CAG report pointed out that “no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) except under appropriations made by law. However, during 2015-16, there were excess disbursements of Rs 286.24 crore over the authorisation from CFI. In civil ministries/departments the excess was Rs 210.37 crore in two segments of two grants/appropriations; and in the ministry of railways Rs 75.87 crore in six segments of six grants/appropriations. These excess disbursements require regularisation under Article 115(1)(b) of the Constitution”.

Read the full report here



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