The 14th Finance Commission led by Chairman Dr. Y.V. Reddy, along-with the Members of the Commission including Prof Abhijit Sen, Member Planning Commission of India, Ms Sushma Nath, Former Finance Secretary, Dr M Govind Rao, Director National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, besides Dr Sudipto Mundle, Former Acting Chairman of National Statistical Commission, today arrived in Srinagar on a two day visit, an official statement said.
During their stay here, the Commission would hold deliberations with the State Government, political parties and stakeholders for fixing the award to the State.
Soon after their arrival, the Commission interacted with representatives of Rural & Urban Local Bodies.
The Commissioner / Secretary Rural Development Department informed that out of the total 4128 Panchayat Halqas, construction of as many as 1678 Panchayat Ghars were undertaken during the 13th Finance Commission, however, 265 Panchayats still are without buildings requiring funds to the tune of Rs. 795 Crores with a unit cost of Rs. 30.00 lakhs per building are required for their construction. The demand for the provision of honorarium of Panches and Sarpanches shall also be taken into account during the recommendations of the Commission, he added.
“The representatives of the Rural Local Bodies from all the three regions of the State put-forth their demands for effective functioning of the Panchayats including infrastructure developments, disaster management, sanitation, exploitation of the diverse climatic conditions besides augmentation of manpower. They also demanded various initiatives for boosting rural economy, besides generation of revenue for which the 14th Financial Commission has to provide liberal funding for strengthening the rural infrastructure,” the statement said.
“A Power Point presentation was also made on the occasion highlighting the achievements made in the rural sector during the 13th Finance Commission.”
Meanwhile, the 14th Finance Commission also interacted with the representatives of Urban Local Bodies. “Deliberating on the achievements of the Department, Commissioner/Secretary Urban Development Department through a Power Point Presentation gave a detailed account of the functioning of the department,” the statement further said.
“Urban areas are the engines of economic growth contributing substantially to state GDP as secondary and tertiary sectors are almost entirely located in the Urban areas. However, due to rapid urbanization and unprecedented migration, the urban areas possess limited civic amenities,” he said.
The statement said that Nehru while giving out the thrust areas to be taken care of informed that development of public utilities including public conveniences, parks, community halls, parking spaces, bus stands, lane and by-lanes besides sewerage, drainage, water supply, urban transport, solid waste management, urban poverty alleviation and conservation of water bodies shall be prioritized.
He said that against the projection of Rs. 1339 Crores during the 13th Financial Commission only Rs. 204 Cr were awarded.
“However, for the preparation and implementation of city sanitation plans, upgradation of civic amenities, creation of multi-layer parking lots and shopping complexes, decongestion of urban areas, providing sewerage network, development of new housing stocks besides preservation-cum-conservation of water bodies in the State, funds to the tune of Rs. 4795 Cr were proposed to the Commission.”
Later the members of the Finance Commission while deliberating on various demands put-forth by the representatives urged that the commission shall supplement the initiatives of the State Finance Commission.
Later, the delegation of the 14th Finance Commission held interaction with the representatives of the Trade and Industry, here this evening.
Financial Commissioner, Industries & Commerce, Mr Khurshid Ahmed Ganai also participated.
“The representatives of Trade and Industry highlighted the measures to be initiated for the development of Trade and Industrial sector in the State. The Industry pointed out the peculiar topography, climatic conditions, development deficit in terms of road connectivity, power supply, lack of adequate industrial infrastructure etc for consideration of the commission,” the statement added.
In his address, Financial Commissioner, I&C emphasized for up- gradation of the existing industrial estates besides setting up of new Industrial estates across the state. He said for the development of Trade and Industry, an environment conducive for entrepreneurship and infrastructural development needs to be created in the state.
Chairman 14th Finance Commission said, “Jammu and Kashmir comprises 3 diverse regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with unique economies which needs to taken into account while allocating funds to the State. Considering the disabilities and requirements of the state, specific packages/projects will be considered and assured that the suggestions made shall be taken into account.”