Why Mufti, Drabu are in Delhi with ‘begging bowl’, asks Jora

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Congress Legislature Party Leader Rigzin Jora Saturday alleged that after having made too much of hue and cry about highest ever devolution of funds under the new scheme of financing, both Chief Minister and Finance Minister are in Delhi with a begging bowl.

“It is easy to talk of fiscal autonomy, economic independence, quite another to walk that talk. All the talk about no longer going to Delhi with begging bowl has come crashing so soon. Fiscal prudence also demands facing the fiscal reality of the state. This state has become a dependent state,” Jora said in a statement to KNS.

“During the course of budget discussion I had warned that the state may end up getting lesser money in the kitty than was made to believe. In the euphoria and excitement of presenting the budget for the first  time (after having written six budget speeches) Dr Haseeb Drabu ended up  giving in to his journalistic indulgence more than simple budgetary exercise,” he claimed. “While, I too, may not be entirely true, the fact could be somewhere in the middle.”

“The new scheme of financing under Finance Commission is premised on factors such as forest cover, area, population, fiscal discipline and most importantly on fiscal capacity/income distance. This last criteria has been given 50 percentage point weightage,” Jora said.

“Jammu and Kashmir along with North Eastern state belonged to the special category states where we stood to gain from 90:10 grants to loan ratio as per the previous scheme of financing. Now we have been put to great disadvantage under the new scheme of financing” he claimed.

“Is it the fault of the state that it has both hilly and mountainous terrain; that it has factors of seasonality; that it has high infrastructure index; that it has location l disadvantages; that it has low resource base; that it has problem of viability of projects and economic activities because of geo- climatic constraints,” he said.

“How is the statutory devolution under the new scheme of financing going to help the state? And if indeed the state stands to gain, why Mufti Sahib had to plead so strongly with the NITI AYOG. Fact remains the NITI AYOG is itself confused hence the committee under its CE0 to examine the issue. Another important issue is about the centrally sponsored scheme. The union budget divided 66 centrally sponsored schemes under three categories,” he said. “The first 31 comprised those to be funded by the centre. The second category of eight have been transferred to the states. These include backward region grant, scheme for police modernization etc. The third category of 24 schemes are those that are to be jointly funded by the state and the centre – these include many social sector and welfare schemes.”

“If the idea was to give more fiscal autonomy and fiscal flexibility why are almost all the states protesting including BJP ruled states,” Jora asked.

 

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