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General News Parliamentary Committee: I&B allocations and Plan Execution Strategy
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NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary Committee has said it is ‘constrained’ that the quantum allocation for the Information and Broadcasting ministry under the Plan segment so far in the 12th Plan period is insufficient to fulfil the envisaged objectives and has recommended a high level review for requisite enhancement of Plan fund allocation in the ensuing Plan period.
This was particularly so considering the wide mandate of this ministry to reach out to the billion plus population of the country, the Standing Committee for Information Technology which examines issues relating to I&B said.
A scrutiny of trend of utilization of Plan funds during the four years of the 12th Plan Period (2012-13 to 2015-16) indicates that a sum of Rs 2,802.72 crore was spent against the Budget Estimate (BE) allocation of Rs 3,729.53 crore in the corresponding period.
When compared to the Revised Estimate (RE) allocation which was of the order of Rs 2,918 crore for these years, it depicts 96 percent utilization.
The Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) approved for the ministry in the 12th Five Year Plan was Rs 7,583 crore, accounting for 39 percent increase over the 11th Plan allocation.
For the year 2016-17, the Committee said the ministry should take up the matter with the Finance ministry for enhancement of Plan funding at the RE stage. Most importantly, the ministry should also take steps to strengthen its Plan execution strategy so that the fund allocated at the BE stage in the current fiscal is optimally utilized.
The Committee which comprises members of both Houses of Parliament wanted to be apprised of the steps taken by the ministry for overall increase in the allocation of funds and measures taken to scale up financial performance in the year 2016-17.
A close look at the financial performance of the ministry for the year 2015-16 indicated that they were able to spend Rs 734.39 crore on Plan schemes against an outlay of Rs 914.53 crore at the BE Stage.
The reasons for shortfall in utilization of funds during 2015-16 had been broadly attributed to reduction of outlay at the RE stage by the Finance ministry, long processes for procurement of goods and services for Prasar Bharati, and delay in approval of the new schemes for the 12th Five Year Plan period under the sectors particularly in Film and Broadcasting.
The Committee noted that the ministry stated that the low expenditure of Prasar Bharati had poorly reflected on the ministry’s overall expenditure for the year 2015-16. An outlay of Rs 800 crore has been made for financing the Plan schemes of the ministry for the year 2016-17, which is Rs 114.53 crore lesser than the BE allocation made in the year 2015-16. According to the ministry, the overall reduction in allocation of funds would impact financing of the planned schemes.
The Committee which comprises members of both houses of parliament observed that the annual Plan expenditure of the ministry so far during the 12th Plan period, on an average, has been a little over Rs 700 crore.

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