Chhattisgarh to prepare fiscal road map to meet rising expenditure

Farmers carry goods on bullock carts across a waterlogged field at a village in Nadia district of West Bengal. Photo: PTI
The Chhattisgarh government is in the process of preparing a road map to strengthen financial management in order to meet the increasing expenditure.

In the nine months since the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government assumed office, the state has had to incur an additional expenditure of about Rs 18,000 crore in order to implement a slew of poll promises and welfare schemes.

Apart from waiving off farm loan worth Rs 9,000 crore, the state is bearing additional burden of over Rs 6,000 crore in procuring paddy at minimum support price (MSP). The Congress government had been buying paddy at Rs 2,500 a quintal, offering a bonus of Rs 750 a quintal to farmers. The Chhattisgarh government has already taken a loan of Rs 14,000 crore this fiscal, and eyeing more in the coming quarters.

What had worried the state authorities was the ensuing kharif marketing season, as the machinery had to be geared up to procure paddy at increased price. In Chhattisgarh, paddy procurement normally starts in November and continues till January end. In the last kharif marketing season, the state had procured 8.2 million tonnes of of the crop from farmers and expected the same flow in the season 2019-20.

“Chief Secretary Sunil Kujur held a high level meeting with top officials in the state government and reviewed the situation,” a senior official with finance department said. A detailed discussion was held on how to curtail the unnecessary expenditure and increase revenue.

The departments have been asked to prepare a road map for the remaining six months of the financial year and submit it within a month, suggesting ways and means to achieve this end.  

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