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Higher non-tax revenue improves Punjab's fiscal health: CAG
March, 14th 2008

A sharp increase in non-tax revenue has improved Punjab's fiscal health, even as the state's tax receipts showed a negligible growth in 2006-07, Comptroller and Auditor General has said in a report.

The CAG Civil report, tabled in Punjab State Assembly here today, found a significant improvement in fiscal indicators mainly on account of an increase in non-tax revenue.

"It happened on account of waiver of specific term loan of Rs 3,772 crore and debt waiver of Rs 131 crore under Debt Consolidation and Relief facility during 2006-07," the report stated.

The revenue of the state during the year in question stood at Rs 16,761 crore, comprising tax revenue of Rs 9,017 crore and as non-tax revenue of Rs 7,744 crore.

The tax revenue merely jumped by Rs 28 crore (0.31 per cent) in 2006-07 over the previous year. Moreover, the tax revenue remained significantly lower than the projections made by 12th Finance Commission.

The report revealed that expenditure on salaries, pensions, interest payments and subsidies swallowed about 71 per cent of total revenue of the state, leaving less resources for spending on social and economic services.

It highlighted that the return on Rs 3,762-crore investment in statutory corporations, joint stock companies and cooperatives was less than one per cent. The CAG also found idle investment in irrigation and power department (Rs 5.01 crore) and finance department (Rs 2 crore).

The total receipts of the state in 2006-07 stood at Rs 20,567 crore, and Rs 1,565 crore was received as share of divisible union taxes. However, the arrears of revenue reported by some departments were Rs 1,916 crore, of which Rs 1,547 crore were recoverable from dealers on account of sales tax, the CAG stated.

The findings of the audit further disclosed instances of embezzlement of government money, losses and unfruitful expenditure to the tune of Rs 88.71 crore in various government departments.

CAG found suspected fraud of Rs 16.62 lakh in animal husbandry department and loss of Rs 53.45 lakh due to wrong fixation of price for allotment of plots in agriculture department.

It stated that there were cases of undue financial aid and avoidable expenditure in Public works Department (Rs 16.03 crore), Housing and Urban Development (Rs 1.25 crore) and Irrigation Department (Rs 44.27 lakh).

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