KL News Network
Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment & Culture, Dr Haseeb Drabu today said the Government has initiated some pioneering fiscal management measures to strengthen and streamline the economic and social infrastructure. He said as a part of the Government’s initiative to increase developmental spending, the highest ever allocation of Rs 31000 crore (39%) is expected to be spent on developmental activities out of the total expenditure of Rs 79472 crore for the fiscal 2017-18.
“What we need is peace, stability and a working environment to facilitate fruitful spending of this huge allocation and creation of tangible assets on the ground,” he said and added that the reformative measures announced in the Budget 2017-18 will go a long way in building a stable and progressive socio-economic framework in the State.
Winding up the discussion on the demand of grants for the departments under his charge, the Finance Minister said the Government is working on to introduce a system which can showcase tangible development on the ground. He said an effort has been made in the Budget to improve the public expenditure and to speed up the economic growth.
The Finance Minister said increase in budgeted Capex has massively shifted the total percentage of expenditure towards development front. In 2011-12, the rate of investment on development front was 6.80 percent of the State Domestic Product (SDP) which has reached 10.02 percent in 2016-17, the highest ever, he said.
“Presently the Government is providing 40% share of our revenue in expenditure which is highest in the country and this expenditure is giving fillip to the economic growth”, he said.
Dr Drabu said for fiscal 2017-18, Government proposes to spend Rs 79472 crore of which Rs 31000 crore (39%) is expected to be spent on developmental activities and if implemented this could be the highest ever allocation for developmental activities in a fiscal year.
The Finance Minister said the incidental impact of the gradual change-making is that net spent on implementing development is getting cheaper. In 2014-15, J&K was spending Rs 5.62 for every one rupee it invested in developmental activities and in the revised estimates for 2016-17, this ratio had reached Rs 2.25. Dr Drabu expressed the hope of taking it further down to Rs 1.59, which will be the lowest ever – historic in a way.
The main focus in 2017-18 will be timely rollout of projects under Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for development and reconstruction of physical and economic infrastructure in the State.
The Finance Minister while speaking on the issue of unemployment said that government is focusing on skill development to address the challenge. Skills required in present job markets are missing and changing the skill profile of our youth will surely result in reducing the unemployment and specialized skills are being provided to the youth to become self reliant, he added.
Dr Drabu said for the first time, the Government has decided to provide social security network to the construction workers and concept of universal basic income for all has been introduced to cover below poverty line people. To clear the gap in the salaries of SSA/RMSA and other workers engaged under centrally sponsored schemes, the Government has decided to delink their salaries from source of their funding so that they will be paid in time for the services they are rendering to the people, he said.
Speaking on the issue of Government’s stand on implementation of GST in the State, the Finance Minister said that clarity has not been made so far and the modalities are being worked out in the GST council meetings. Once the clarity has been made on various components of GST, the Government will discuss it in the house to get the guidance and sense of the house, he said adding that GST system is beneficial for consumption states like J&K.
Responding to the issue of SARFAESI Act, the Finance Minister said that it is essential for the banks for having a market where they can sell the properties for which the Government had proposed creation of J&K Asset Reconstruction Company. There is a need of having a proper market mechanism under which all the state subject properties can go to JKARC with the provision that Transfer of Properties Act being upheld by the Supreme Court will prevail and SARFAESI Act will not at any stage disturb Article 370.
Dr Drabu said that the Government has also taken a bold decision of clearing all past liabilities so that we can move ahead with the status of clean state. He said to ensure check on over-cost liabilities, DPR based system is being proposed in which only such projects will be sanctioned which will be backed by proper project reports.
The Finance Minister assured the house for sincere efforts in starting the process of regularization of the estimated 61,000 casual and other workers of various categories subject to a set of guidelines and objective criteria. He said that the Labour department is reviewing the issue of implementation of minimum wages act.
Dr Drabu said that basic banking facilities are being provided to the people at Panchayat levels and awareness about moving towards digital banking has also been initiated at every level.
All centrally sponsored schemes including PMDP, NABARD and others have been provided state share. We have been provided upfront and CS accessed this year was highest ever, the Finance Minister said.
The Finance Minister sought cooperation of the members for the implementation and execution of the proposals of Budget 2017-18 and expressed the hope of seeing the budget be delivered on the ground. He also thanked the members for their valuable suggestions and inputs.
Earlier, the Minister moved a Demand for Grant of a sum of Rs 3141680.85 lakh and a sum of Rs 20062.39 lakh to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2018 for the departments under his charge.
10 Members took part in discussion on the demand of grants including Ch Qamar Hussain, Vikar Rasool Wani, Jeevan Lal, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Sat Paul Sharma, Usman Abdul Majeed, Shah Mohammad Tantray and Pawan Kumar Gupta.
Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister. The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.