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    Punjab Govt tightens fiscal belt

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    The Aam Aadmi Party administration has developed comprehensive standards for “management of its income inflows and spending” to get a first-hand assessment of the state’s financial health.

    The relevant administrative secretaries are no longer able to purchase or hire new automobiles, incur overseas travel expenditures, hire professional services, or pay interest or punitive interest without first receiving approval from the Finance Department.

    The Department of Administration Reforms’ prior permission is required for the purchase of computer-related gear and the employment of personnel for the purpose. The new regulations state that a single sanction cannot exceed Rs 25 crore for any development.

    The AAP has refrained from enacting any new levies since taking office. However, it has begun providing household clients with 300 units of free electricity each month.

    The emphasis is also on urging all government agencies to boost the state’s revenue, even if the Finance Department’s recommendations have introduced new laws and regulations for reducing spending by holding every cent utilized in the state responsible. Each department’s officers have been requested to set monthly and quarterly income collection goals and administrative secretaries are responsible for checking that these goals are being met.

    Every single state revenue will need to be directed via the state’s consolidated fund.

    “Government agencies who don’t meet their revenue collection goals will automatically have their budgetary allocations reduced the next year. The standards provide that the yearly assessment report for the officials must expressly include both the accomplishment and underachievement of any goals they were given.

    The income collections for the first six months of the financial year are only 41.8% of the objective, while the revenue expenditure is 45% of the goal established for 2022–2023.

    To reduce unnecessary spending, the government has decided to spend financial allocations in phases. Departments are instructed to spend 35% and 20% of their budgetary allotments in the last two fiscal quarters, respectively. No department may request more funding than what is provided in the budget, and the government is required to pay all obligations within three months, among other things.

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