Photo: Hindustan Times
Photo: Hindustan Times

Ministries’ spending: leaders and laggards

While ministries such as transport and highways have used high percentage of funds allocated, others such as housing and railways have been lagged behind

One of the key objectives of the Narendra Modi government was to kick-start the economy by expanding public investment in infrastructure projects as private sector investment was sluggish. However, an analysis shows that while ministries such as road, transport and highways have used a high percentage of the funds allocated to them, others such as housing and urban poverty alleviation and railways have been laggards in utilizing their funds.

One of the key objectives of the Narendra Modi government was to kickstart the economy by expanding public investment in infrastructure projects as private-sector investment was sluggish. As part of the plan, finance minister Arun Jaitley allocated 70,000 crore in additional funds to the infrastructure sector with a focus on railways and roads in the budget for the year to 31 March 2016.

While the road transport and highways ministry has used a high percentage of the funds allocated to it, ministries such as housing and urban poverty alleviation and railways have been laggards in utilizing their funds, according to an analysis of the Plan expenditure record of various ministries for the six months ended 30 September. The analysis was based on data compiled by the Controller General of Accounts.

The civil aviation ministry tops the list of high fund utilizers. It is, of course, because of the annual transfer of money to Air India to fund the turnaround plan of the national airline. The analysis includes ministries that have Plan outlays of more than 1,000 crore during 2015-16.

The Plan expenditure of a ministry during the first six months of the fiscal year is compared with its five-year average during the same period. Ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, which spent 33% of its 1,500 crore budgeted Plan expenditure during the six-month period, has not been included in the list as it is a new ministry and comparable data for it is not available.

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