Drabu’s New Direction to DDBs: Identify Works Rather Than Seeking Funds



Dr Haseeb A Drabu
Dr Haseeb A Drabu

District administration will now be focusing more on their yearly developmental requirements across various sectors rather than focusing on the quantum of resources. They will have to put in more efforts to draft and design the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) rather than seeking specific quantum of funds as part of their yearly plans.

The outline of the changes was offered by state finance minister Dr Haseeb A Drabu while heading the first district development board meeting of the season in Islamabad. Drabu heads the district development board of south Kashmir’s Islamabad that will soon see election for one assembly seat and one Lok Sabha berth.

The new dispensation led by the Ms Mehbooba Mufti has taken a policy decision that the district development board meetings should he held before the budget presentation, instead of post budget. The idea, sources said is to identify the requirement of a particular district and make them part of the budget and not vice versa. Drabu is slated to present the budget for the current fiscal on May 30.

This policy shift will kick the focus away from resources demand and make it project linked.

Drabu told the district administration that instead of seeking a particular quantum of resources, they should submit the detailed priority list of what the district requires on roads, buildings, health and other sectors. You send the details about the length of roads that you want to lay and we will offer you the resources, he was quoted saying.

He said that it will gradually help the state move towards normative standardization of development and make the development result oriented and not funds-focussed.

This system will end the practice of system of having different rate of investment on similar infrastructure in different districts. For one kilometre of road, different districts would demand different rates which had triggered a massive pilferage in the public finances. The new system will push the state towards a uniform set of investment.

Finance Minister urged the district administration that before every district development board meeting, the district administration must convene a meeting with the lawmakers of the area so that there is a consensus between the priorities of the representatives and the administration. This pre-DDB meeting would make the process all inclusive.

He suggested that the DDB meeting should be followed up by quarterly meetings to review the developmental activities. Drabu asked the district administration that he has head of the DDB should get a monthly report on the progress of the works taken up.

Islamabad DDB meet on May 12, 2016

Meanwhile, an official spokesperson this evening said that Minister of Finance, Culture and Labour & Employment, Dr Haseeb Drabu, Thursday said the district plans should be discussed by the administration with elected representatives of the people before sending them for approval to the State Government.

The Minister was speaking during the District Development Board (DDB) in Islamabad which was also attended by Minister for Public Works, Abdul Rehman Veeri and Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, Syed Farooq Andrabi, besides other officials.

“While there is no doubt that public representatives have to be involved in formulation of district plans, the district administration should also do pre-DDB discussions, get suggestions from all the public representatives and then come to meetings,” Dr Drabu said.

Dr Drabu, who is the Chairman of DDB Islamabad, said the state government has a limited budget, a large chunk of which is spent on paying the salaries of the employees, and the remaining funds need to be utilized judiciously for development works.

“Please don’t focus on money alone but execute proposals fully. Identify areas which require government’s intervention. Let’s focus on specific sectors in particular areas. In all these areas, involve local legislators because they know the ground realities,” he said.

Dr Drabu directed the officials to prepare individual budget plans for connectivity, medical infrastructure, education, irrigation and other sectors.

“Given our limited budget, we can build consensus between the government officials and public representatives to take up one sector in a particular year on priority and then work for the implementation of plans devised for that particular sector,” Dr Drabu said.

Expressing concern over lack of desired pace in implementation of decisions taken in the previous DDB meeting chaired by the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Dr Drabu directed DDC Islamabad, Abid Rashid Shah, to do multi-review of the decisions in terms of physical targets and financial targets.

“I will expect monthly report on the progress achieved on the decisions taken today. The district administration should also do a quarterly review of the decisions so that the process of governance isn’t hit. I think the biggest tribute to Mufti Sahab will be that whatever we have committed today, is done on ground,” Dr Drabu said.

The Minister urged the Islamabad district officials to prepare a plan for building a maternity hospital in the town under the economic reconstruction plan (TAIMER) announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi last year. He said there is an allocation of Rs 1500 crore to resuscitate the healthcare sector of J&K under TAIMER.

The Minister also directed the Planning Department to prepare and circulate a template on ‘Model Schools’ and ‘Model Health Centres’, keeping in view the diversity of resources used to fund these initiatives. He also directed the government departments in Islamabad district to remove Russian poplars while announcing to get an MRI machine for patients in the district under the CSR initiative who have to travel to Srinagar to avail the facility.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Public Works, AR Veeri, lauded the Finance Minister for his efforts in turning around the economy of the state.

Recalling the contribution of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Veeri said the government is committed to fulfil his vision for Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting was also attended by legislators of Islamabad district who pitched the demands of people in their constituencies during nearly six-hour long deliberations held at Dak Bungalow. The Finance Minister gave them a patient hearing and promised to address the issues raised by them.

The meeting approved an annual plan of Rs 186 crore plan for the district.

Chief Engineers of PHE, R&B, I&FC, Director School Education, Chairmen of Kokernag Development Authority, Pahalgam Development Authority, besides top officials of the district administration also attended the meeting.


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