Infrastructure projects in Chandigarh are set to get a fresh impetus with the allocation for capital expenditure increased by 25% in the Union Budget outlay for the UT in the coming fiscal.
Capital expenditure is the government spending on infrastructure and development works.
However, overall, there is only a marginal increase of 0.93% ( ₹48 crore) in the budget estimates from ₹5138.10 crore in 2020-2021 to ₹5186.12 crore in 2021-2022. In the last year’s budget, the total outlay was increased by 8.1%.
On the administration getting nearly ₹500 crore lesser than its own proposal for ₹5,670 crore, UT adviser Manoj Parida said: “I was expecting a cut due to overall fund constraints in the Covid-19 scenario. We are grateful to the Union government for enhancing our allotment by ₹48 crore as compared to last year.”
From routine spending to productive works
Keeping the UT budget stagnant, the Centre has shifted a major portion of the allocation under the revenue expenditure (government money spent on salaries, wages, subsidies, loan interest, etc) to capital expenditure, which officials said would help in expanding development works and creation of new projects.
The UT’s revenue expenditure has been decreased from ₹4,693 crore in 2020-2021 to ₹4,567 crore in 2021-2022. At the same time, capital expenditure allocation stands increased from ₹494 crore to ₹618 crore.
Arun Gupta, home and finance secretary, said: “Allocation for salaries, made under revenue expenditure, is generally not used fully, as sometimes provisions for posts that end up remaining vacant are also made. This was the case this year too. So, the outlay for revenue head has been cut and shifted to more constructive capital expenditure head.”
Urban development biggest gainer
Even as revenue expenditure for urban development has been cut, capital allocation has been increased by nearly 37% from ₹171 crore to ₹238 crore, thus bringing Chandigarh in a better position to take up new infrastructure works, said officials.
Capital expenditure outlay for police has been increased from ₹53 crore to ₹87 crore. This includes provision for police housing and allied works, such as development of infrastructure and renovation of existing houses. For public works, the allocation has been increased from ₹19.55 crore to ₹24.91 crore.
Similarly, on education, sports, art and culture, capital expenditure allocation has been increased from ₹78.63 crore to ₹93.88 crore. As per the budget document, this includes provision for modernisation and purchase of equipment, development of infrastructure for NCC and modernisation of polytechnic and industrial training institute.
“We are better placed if we get more funds under the capital head as this money is to be spent solely on infrastructure development,” said Gupta.