Chimi Dema | Tsirang

With the domestic revenue for the fiscal year 2020-21 estimated to fall by 14 percent than that of the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, local leaders in Tsirang are worried about meeting the recurrent expenditure in the next fiscal year.

Gups raised the concerns after the dzongkhag finance officer, Dawa Dem, presented to the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) members on April 21 that although the government has sufficient capital budget to meet the expenditure for re-prioritised activities in the current plan, meeting the recurrent expenditure from domestic revenue is a concern, as revenue-generating sectors are impacted by pandemic.

Semjong gup, Top Nath Acharya, said he is worried if the budget could be enough to meet the travel allowances. “We couldn’t provide about 50 percent of travel bills without sufficient recurrent budget in the current fiscal year,” he said. “At times, we had to pay through a work-charged establishment.”

The gewog administration spent at least Nu 15,000 a month for travel allowance in the past.

The gup said that although daily travel allowance was increased, there was no increment on the budget ceiling. “We receive travel bills of at least Nu 30,000 a month due to the increment today. ”

He said many gewog officials understand the national situation in such difficult times.

Going by the dzongkhag financial progress report for the current fiscal year, Semjong utilised a total budget of Nu 6.835 million (M) of which, Nu 2.4M was current expenditure.

Kilkhorthang gup, Beda Moni Chamlagai, said that a few officials were also paid travel allowances through work-charged establishments without sufficient budget.

With the gewog centre located 10km from the dzongkhag administration, the gup said that the gewog administration spends only Nu 30,000 a year on travel allowance.

Except for a travel allowance, he said that there was no impact on other expenditures due to the fall in domestic revenue in the current year.

“It is important that we manage with whatever available revenue we have in the next fiscal year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tsirang DT endorsed a capital budget of Nu 566.325 million (M) for the fiscal year 2021-2022 yesterday.

Of the total Nu 249.483 allocated for the dzongkhag administration, the education sector was allocated the highest budget of Nu 56M. Urban development and engineering sector was allocated the second highest budget of Nu 50.4M.

Among the gewogs, Barshong was appropriated Nu 67.5M, which is the highest. The gewog administration appropriated Nu 31.6M for the health sector.

Dawa Dem said the drop in domestic revenue will not impact the developmental activities in the dzongkhag as the capital budget would be appropriated.

The domestic revenue for the fiscal year 2020-21 is, however, estimated at Nu 33,189M, which is one of the lowest in the last few years.