Mired in controversies, it seems the state government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has actually settled down to perform. The latest was this week when Dr Haseeb A Drabu unleashed radical reforms to bring systemic change in the fiscal management of the state.
Dr Drabu, less a politician and more an economist chaired a marathon three hour long meeting with administrative secretaries on Wednesday this week. Insiders say it was a classroom without black board and a chalk where Dr Drabu was at his creative best. Drabu gave administrative secretaries a literal template of highlighting their requirements in a mix of three scenarios in which J&K lacks resources, has resources and a mix of the two: fifty-fifty. He cautioned them as well, “stop new projects till the older ones are completed.” Officials say that the message was loud and clear, “utilize vast assets created across the state in various sectors.”
Talking about so many reforms, the baseline was emphasis on quality of expenditure over the quantum of resources. In the process the FinMin conveyed that he wants the budget for 2016-17 be presented in January so that all the resources are kept ready by early March when the working season in winter zone starts. In current fiscal, government has already released Rs 17000 crore of the total budgeted expenditure of Rs 46,473 crore – an impressive 36%.
He also had a word of advice for state’s General Administration Department that they should move beyond the routine transfers and become as the Human Resources Development (HRD) Department of the state government.
Finance apart, the art lover Dr Drabu also had different idea for cultural department-his other portfolio. His idea: the government will invest in creation of infrastructure but will not indulge in cultural activities.
Busy with issues related to his ministries, particularly in finalizing the package, people of Rajpora were missing his physical presence in the constituency. Though they say various developmental works are being done. He managed to spend a day in his constituency where he watched the final of a football tournament, distributed prizes, gave instructions to convert 70-bed hospital at Rajpora into a Specialty Hospital for Gynecology and Obstetrics.
He also drove to Bellow and asked top CRPF officers to evict from Kashmir’s oldest apple grading and packing facility which continues to be a garrison for around 30 years now.
Dr Drabu is ‘burdened’ with the expectations which he himself confesses. Managing the empty coffers with liability of over 9000 Cr, the economist Drabu is expected to stabilize the cash starved state. Under fire from his detractors of not doing ‘anything’, his close aides believe that he is cleaning the systemic rot and will deliver.
– Tasavur Mushtaq