HM Amit Shah to present J&K’s budget in Parliament Tomorrow

NEW DELHI, Mar 1 (Agencies): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday will present budget of Jammu and Kashmir in the both houses Parliament.

The parliament session will resume on March 2 and this will be the first budget of Jammu post scrapping of article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile state into two union territories.

 “The budget has to be approved by the Parliament before March 31 for next financial year of 2020-21 beginning April 1. Annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir for the current financial year of 2019-20 was approved by the then State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by then Governor Satya Pal Malik in December 2018 when the State was under the Governor’s Rule,” The Daily Excelsior reported quoting sources.

They added that though next year’s budget will be passed in second week of March i.e. a delay of about three months as compared to this year, the Finance Department was fully prepared to manage the things and release funds to various Heads immediately after getting nod from the Union Government.

For the past several years, there had been practice in Jammu and Kashmir to pass annual budget in the month of January in the Legislature giving ample time to the Government Departments and the District Development Commissioners to work on the projects and other works to be taken up in the financial year.

However, according to sources, development works will not suffer even if the annual budget is passed in the month of March this year as the administration especially the Finance Department was already on the job to identify developmental works, projects etc to be taken up in the next financial year.

 “Exercise is on and it will hardly make any difference even if the budget gets the Parliament nod in March,” sources said.

For the first time, they said, annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir was set to cross the figure of Rs one lakh crore and could be around Rs 1.2 lakh crore, which will be sufficient enough as Ladakh, the third region of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, has been separated and made a new Union Territory. Ladakh will have separate budget-cum-funding from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs like other UTs of the country without Legislature.

As far as the current financial year is concerned, sources said there has been no problem in funding and release of funds and bills in the treasuries were being cleared expeditiously. Earlier, some problems used to crop up at the fag end of financial year but this year entire system is working smoothly and flow of cash is as per requirements.

 “Development will be the major focus in the budget 2020-21,” sources said.

They said the Jammu and Kashmir Government mainly the Finance Department has completed entire exercise for finalization of budget for next financial year of 2020-21-both within the Union Territory as well as with the Union Finance Ministry officials.

 “Our budget proposals are almost ready,” sources said, adding that since J&K is without the Assembly at present, its budget will be approved by the Parliament. However, when J&K gets the Legislature after Assembly elections are held in the Union Territory, it will pass its own budget.

During current financial year of 2019-20, Jammu and Kashmir’s budget was to the tune of Rs 88,911 crore. However, following bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, part of current financial year’s budget was diverted to the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Sources said the Union Territory administration has held wide ranging discussions with all Government Departments and senior functionaries to ascertain their requirements for the next financial year before giving final touch to the budgetary proposals.

The 15th Finance Commission has already recommended one per cent share in the divisible pool of taxes for the newly created Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh for the financial year 2020-21, thus retaining the devolution formula of the earlier Commission.

It may be mentioned here that Dr Haseeb Drabu, the Finance Minister in previous PDP-BJP coalition Government had presented four budgets in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 before the Government fell in June 2018 following withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government by the BJP. Since then, the SAC had approved one budget for the financial year of 2019-20 on December 18, 2018 while this will be second budget of Jammu and Kashmir which will be approved by the Parliament in next few days.

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