Till February 2023, the department had spent less than 60% of budgetary allocation for 2022-23
The department of animal husbandry and dairying of the Government of India has surrendered an amount of Rs 1,545.78 crore from its budget during the course of three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22, as it could not fully utilise the amount, according to a parliamentary standing committee report tabled in the Lok Sabha.
As of February 20, 2023, the second-last month of the 2022-23 financial year, the department had spent only 56.07 per cent of the budgetary allocation of Rs 3,440.97 crore at the Revised Estimates (RE) stage.
The spending was 98.7 per cent and 98.5 per cent during 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.
Further, there have been constant cuts in allocation towards the department. This, along with the non-utilisation of funds, will “severely affect” the momentum of rise in the animal husbandry and dairying sector’s contribution in the national economy, showed the report on ‘Demand for Grants’ (2023-24) of the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (department of animal husbandry and dairying).
“The Committee is concerned to note that during the course of three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the Department has surrendered an amount of Rs. 1545.78 Crore. As regards the reasons for surrender of funds, the Department has vaguely stated “reduction of RE”, as the reason for surrender, without furnishing any proper explanation thereto,” the standing committee on agriculture, animal husbandry and food processing, headed by PC Gaddigoudar, said.
Despite having surrendered such a huge quantum of funds each year during the last three years, the department has been requesting for an increase in budgetary allocation.
The committee recommended the government to make sure that adequate funds are allocated at the RE stage for the year 2023-24, so that the proposed physical targets under the schemes and non-schemes do not have to be revised and their implementation does not suffer for want of funds.
The animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries sectors are increasingly recognised as emerging sectors by way of performance relative to the crop sector, according to the Economic Survey 2022-23.
The share of the department of agriculture and farmers welfare in the total central outlay, however, was nearly 2.5 per cent in the year 2023-24. That of the department of animal husbandry and dairying, however, declined to 0.10 per cent in 2023-24 from 0.12 per cent in 2020-21.
When asked whether the funds allocated to the department for 2023-24 were sufficient to meet the requirements for that year and how this reduction impacted the implementation of schemes, the department admitted that due to reduction in allocation, the targets set under the schemes might be revised.
Against a proposed amount of Rs 5,590.11 crore during 2022-23, the department was allocated only Rs 4,288.84 crore at the budget estimate stage, which was further reduced to Rs 3,440.97 crore at the RE stage.
In its written reply, the department apprised the committee that due to the reduction in the allocated funds at RE stage during the year 2022-23, the ‘physical targets’ under various schemes and non-schemes have been revised accordingly.
“However, even out of the meagre RE stage allocations, the department could utilise only 26.73 per cent of the funds under schemes and 74.03 per cent of the funds under non-schemes till January 2023,” the report said.
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