LAHORE - Supplementary or revised budget, which should be debated by the parliament members vigorously and critically, is usually approved quietly without any criticism or objection by the opposition parties, economists said.
The supplementary or revised budget is the actual budget, as it shows the real spending of the provincial and federal governments throughout the fiscal year, said economist Dr Qais Aslam. He said that instead of discussing the traditional budget which just shows expectations of revenue collections and govt departments expected expenditures that turned to be wrong, the assemblies should view the revised budget critically, pointing out overspendings and unnecessary diversions of funds.
He said that during the concluding fiscal year Punjab govt several departments funds remained unconsumed like environment, forestry and women development sectors but the opposition either remained quite or absent from the assembly and the revised budget was approved quietly.
Land reclamation and irrigation besides loans to municipalities and autonomous bodies’ demands remained atop the 2013-14 supplementary budget, statement of about Rs22 billion presented before the Punjab Assembly during the budget session, implying that govt spent additional amount of Rs22 billion than proposed in the budget in last June. The revised budget for the concluding fiscal year 2013-14 was also passed in the Provincial Assembly of Punjab in the absence of the opposition that boycotted the budget approval, terming expenditures above the allocated funds an irresponsible act of the government.
Almost all departments shown overspending including land revenue, provincial excise, registration, administration of justice, police, museums, education, health services, agriculture, veterinary, civil works, housing and physical planning department, stationery and printing, subsidy, civil defence, state trading in medical stores and coal, development, agricultural improvement and research, town development, roads and bridges, government buildings and agriculture.
Criticising the supplementary expenditures, experts declared these huge amounts as wastage of public exchequer, mismanagement and irresponsible act of the government as it was using public funds like a king and without any planning.
Salient features of the supplementary budget show that an amount of Rs6.87 billion was released for generation of new posts in police force, purchase of equipment and machinery and additional salaries for special police force.
The Elementary and Secondary Education was released an additional amount of Rs5.42 billion for different cadet colleges, colleges and schools in head of financial assistance and other heads in the province. The federal government also provided an additional amount of Rs2.38 billion than the funds allocated the budget for Relief and Rehabilitation Department, which the provincial government released in form of supplementary budget.
Another amount of Rs2.65 billion was released by the provincial government to the department of health for anti-polio campaign, prevention of dengue fever, provision of free food in hospital during Ramazan, free angiography and provision of other facilities in different hospitals and health centres.
During the last fiscal year, the Punjab government had also presented the supplementary budget of more than Rs82 billion and the House approved all 41 demands for grants of more than Rs44 billion with majority. During the session, the finance minister had moved 41 demands for grants for the supplementary budget and the opposition moved five cut motions but due to lack of time only four relating to irrigation, prison, agriculture and food grain & sugar departments were considered by the House.