‘Diversion of funds from hill areas is misleading’

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Imphal: The state finance department has strongly refuted a statement circulated in social media on the diversion of funds from the Hill Areas as misleading information and aims to create a divide between the Hill and Valley Areas of the state.

An official statement of the the department stated that the state government had placed a realistic figure on ‘developmental’ expenditure break-up in the recently concluded Assembly Session. This is in connection with the Unstarred Question no. 138 raised by MLA Alfred K Arthur during the Assembly session.

The state government has placed a clear cut picture on the ‘developmental’ expenditure break-up based on budget figures. It indicates that the expenditure of hill and valley during the financial year 2017-18 was Rs 1544 crore and Rs 3287 crores respectively. In financial year 2018-19, the expenditure for hills was Rs 1490 crores and that of valley was Rs 3526 crore. In 2019-20, the expenditure for the hills was Rs 1654 crore and for valley, it was Rs 3221 crore. During the financial year 2020-21, a sum of Rs 2670 crore was spent for the hill areas and Rs 4381 crore was spent for the valley districts.

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The statement said the state government had placed in the Assembly that the expenditure of some departments is mainly valley-based such as Secretariat, MAHUD, Panchayati Raj etc. It had also placed in the Assembly that the figures reflected in the Budget under ‘Hill’ allocation is lower than the actual. This is mainly due to centrally sponsored schemes, where due to the requirement of PFMS (Public Financial Management System) of Government of India, the funds have to be encashed by the Headquarter DDO (in Imphal) before disbursal to the implementing agencies in the hill districts.

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It clarified that in order to give a clear picture of the actual fund flow to the hill areas of the state, the state government is preparing a detailed paper which will be shared with the public by the end of September, 2021. This paper will give a clear picture on the actual fund spent by the government for the development of the Hill Areas and will be an evidence of the efforts made by this government on bringing real development in the hills, it added.

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