Responding to all the high pitched accusations of lack of development funds for hill areas of Manipur by various hill-based organisations, Manipur Government has brought out a White Paper on Budgetary Development Fund for the Hill Districts.
The fund flow to the Hills, as percentage of the total developmental expenditure of the State, shows a fluctuating trend from 2012-13 but shows a general increasing trend from 2017-18.
The Director of the Department of Tribal Affairs and Hills Development, C Arthur Worchuiyo on October 28 highlighted the expenditure of the Hill Districts of Manipur in a press conference held at old Secretariat, Imphal.
The State Government constituted a Committee on the 25th August 2021 to examine the funds released to the districts of the State for the last 10 years, starting from Finance Year 2011-2012.
Based on the information submitted by Departments and the information of overall expenditure from the Accountant General and Budgetary Figure with Finance Department, the Committee made a comparison of the actual development funds released for the Hills Districts against the overall annual developmental expenditure of the Government.
Further, the report states that during the last two financial years (FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21) show substantial increase in the absolute figures and in the percentage of funds such as Total Developmental Expenditure as per Budget figures during 2011-12 is Rs 3396.73 crore, in 2012- 13 is Rs 3381.18 crore. In 2013-14 the total expenditure was Rs 3477.51 crore while in 2014-15 it was increased to Rs 4124.60 crore and in 2015-16 it was up to Rs 4290.15 crore.
The committee report says, Hill expenditure as per departments reports was Rs 1321.93 crore in 2011-12, Rs 1330.89 crore in 2012-13, Rs 1270.52 crore in 2013-14, Rs 1411.14 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 1337.89 crore in 2015-16 respectively. The percentage of Hill expenditure against total of state is 38.92 per cent in 2011-12, 39.36 per cent in 2012-13, 36.54 per cent in 2013-14, 34.21 per cent in 2014-15 and 31.19 per cent 2015-16 respectively.
The total Developmental expenditure as per Budget figures is Rs 4597.33 crore in 2016-17, Rs 4830.73 crore in 2017-18, Rs 5015.34 crore in 2018-19, Rs 4874.58 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 7051.10 Crore in 2020-21 Finance year. Hill expenditure as per Departments reports is Rs 1538.98 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1843.72 crore in 2027-18, Rs 1845.34 crore in 2018-19, Rs 2133.09 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 3225.99 crore in 2020-21 respectively.
Percentage of Hill expenditure against total state expenditure is 33.48 per cent in 2016-17, 38.17 per cent in 2017-18, 36.79 per cent in 2018-19, 43.76 per cent in 2019-20 and 45.75 per cent in the Finance Year 2020-21 respectively.
The Committee Report has stated that the report is to give fund flow to all the hill districts in the last ten years, starting from the financial year 2011-12. The report aims to provide department-wise break-up of the developmental expenditure in the hill areas based on the information submitted by the departments on the schemes, various projects and other activities taken up by the State Government departments.
However, many projects cannot be divided strictly based on expenditure in hills and valley areas, the Report stated. Many projects taken up in the valley districts are for the benefit of the Hill Areas including Tribal Research Institute, Hill Village Chiefs Guest House, etc., or for the state as a whole like Manipur Secretariat, Inter-State Bus and Truck Terminus etc.
The present budgetary allocation in the form of hill-valley is not able to capture the actual fund allocation and expenditure for the hill districts, thereby making monitoring difficult, the Report observed.
Though there has been a substantial increase in the absolute figure and percentage of fund flow in hill districts of Manipur in the last two financial years, a state committee constituted to examine the funds released for all the hill districts pointed out the need to streamline fund distribution among the hill districts in the state.
Speaking in the press conference, committee member C Arthur Worchuiyo said that as per the findings of the committee report, a fluctuating trend in the fund flow was witnessed starting 2011-12. He said from 2012-13 onward, the percentage of developmental expenditure in the hill areas against the total expenditure showed a decline till 2016-17 after which, there was an increasing trend.
The percentage of hills expenditure against the total expenditure increased to 45.75 per cent in 2020-2021, he said, adding, it was 31.19 per cent in 2015-2016.
According to consolidate details of fund released to hill districts in 38 departments, the total fund flow increased to a total of Rs 3225.99 crore in 2020-2021, while in 2015-16 it was Rs 1337.89 crore.
Expenditures on salary, pension, office expenses, charged expenditure and security-related expenditure were excluded, he said.
Concerning the beneficiary-based schemes, districts with a larger population get a larger share of scheme funds and in major infrastructure projects, he said, adding that fund distribution among the different hill districts need to be streamlined.
The committee report pointed out that some major departments, including Planning, TA and Hills, Rural Development, PWD, PHED etc. are responsible for the recent increase in the expenditure.
There are many smaller departments whose expenditure is less due to the overall small budgetary allocation of the department and do not have a major impact on the fund distribution, as per the report.
The committee observed that implementation of a few major projects leads to skewed fund distribution between hill and valley districts and among the different hill districts which was seen mainly in beneficiary-based schemes.
The Committee made their recommendation, based on the observations that to move away from the Hill-Valley fund allocation system in the Budget, to that of tribal Sub-plans, this will help in monitoring fund allocation and expenditure in a better way.
For better allocation of funds for the Tribal Sub-plan and among different districts, the State Government is to consider adopting a formula along similar lines to that of the Finance Commission both Central and State). Creating an institutionalised administrative mechanism to monitor the fund allocation and expenditure, the committee observed.
However, if the percentage of development funds allotted to Hill Areas is considered on population percentage of the State, the Manipur Hill Areas gets 45.75 per cent development funds in the financial year 2020-21 while the population percentage is 42.83.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics