Jammu, Jan 16: While opposition Congress and NC members criticized the budget during the debate in State Assembly today, the coalition PDP and BJP members hailed it and termed it a revolutionary step to boost State’s economy.
CPI(M) MLA, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami alleged that the Finance Minister has focused on figures and future promises rather than on concrete and pragmatic proposals. He described the unemployment as a very crucial challenge for the State and said that this problem contributes to the political uncertainty and unrest, as such, it should have been taken very seriously by the Finance Minister.
“Unfortunately, this grave issue has been neglected. Moreover, the regularization of 61000 casual workers and the implementation of 7th Pay Commission too have been postponed”, he said.
Referring to the mismanagement and losses suffered by the J&K Bank as highlighted in the budget proposals, Tarigami recalled that some legislators had in the past impressed upon the Government to bring this important financial institution under the preview of the State Legislature but the suggestions were ignored. “On the other hand the impression was generated that the institution was on the top and its management and performance was par excellence. Now the bank has suffered the losses of Rs 600 crore and the Government is infusing equity of Rs 532 crore in two tranches”, he said.
He further said, “power budget is again vague on improving the present dismal power situation”, adding “the Coalition Government should have, as is promised in its Alliance of Agenda and recommended by the Rangarajan Committee, taken back two hydro-electric power projects”.
“Moreover, nothing concrete for improving generation, transmission and distribution has been proposed instead unbundling of power/electric sector has been projected as panacea to all ills and problems. The experience reveals that after unbundling of electric/power sector in various states, the utilities have not in any way become more efficient”, Tarigami said.
The CPI(M) MLA demanded constitution of Welfare Board for the Artisans on the pattern of Construction Welfare Board, adequate relief and support measures for farmers and fruit growers besides constitution of Pesticides Regulatory Authority and more allocations for research purposes to two Agriculture Universities.
National Conference MLA, Ali Mohammad Sagar dubbed Finance Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar as ‘liability’ for the State and said, “during the past nearly three years you have failed to prove your worth”.
“We had good impression about you when you were Chairman of the J&K Bank and Economic Advisor to the Government but as a Finance Minister you have failed to come up to the expectations of people of the State”, he further said while expressing displeasure over the lack of provisions in the Budget for the rehabilitation of 2014 flood victims.
Sagar further said, “in the previous budgets you had announced abolition of Lakhanpur Toll Post, privatization of State Motor Garages and Dal Development Fund but all the announcements have remained only on the papers till date”, adding “the present dispensation is also soft-paddling on the implementation of Rs 80,000 crore worth Prime Minister Development Package”.
He called for speeding up the pace of work on power projects started by the previous Government. “The budget should be focused on devising economic mechanism to meet the current needs and demands of the State and should not be politically inclined”, he added.
Speaking in the Assembly on Budget CLP leader Rigzin Jora pointed out that the budget is a mere statement of receipts and expenditure . It is a collection of numbers. It is not an expression of the values and aspiration of the people. The budget has not taken into account the instability factor. Fact remains there is cycle of unrest, strife, bandhs as witnessed in Amarnath row in 2008 , subsequently in 2010 and yet again in 2016 when the Valley witnessed 5 months prolonged hartals . The budget should have recalibrated the plan policy and the economic policy the instability factor and provided for contingency plan.
Jora drew comparison with Himachal Pradesh state which too has mountain terrain but is half the size of J&K. It has 50 % population of J&K but has GDP equal to J&K. While one of the reason could be enduring conflict that the State has been witnessing, the other important is the quality of Government. Jora accused the Finance Minister of making false promises in the past budget . The investment in the State has come down from average of Rs 975 crore since 2008-09 to a mere Rs 275 crore in 2015-16. He accused Drabu of being unfair to the employees who have not been released 7th Pay Commission. When you don’t give the employees their due you can’t expect to accelerate development expenditure , which why this has fallen behind the budget estimate .
Jora welcomed the insurance scheme for the 9 crops but regretted exclusion of barley and apricot. He spoke at length about the economic anarchy unleashed in the name of demonetization.
The rate of unemployment in the State in all age groups is alarmingly higher than the national rate in all age groups. He opposed making Aadhar card manadatory for government jobs as nearly 30 lakh people are yet to be issued Aadhar card.
Usman Abdul Majid while initiating the discussion on Budget, said that it holds lot of promise and Government needs to ensure every effort is made to deliver the said promises to the people. He further said that there are many areas in the State that still need focused development and efforts should be made to introduce schemes for revamping these rural and urban areas.
Sat Pal Sharma lauded the Budget proposals presented by the Finance Minister, DR Haseeb Drabu. He called for fixing responsibility on officials while executing developmental works across the State. He also asked for inclusion of concerned legislators during the developmental plan formulation process for the constituency.
Hailing the decision of comprehensive insurance cover for employees, Sat Sharma advocated for an insurance scheme for crop and livestock losses to the people living alongside border areas of the State. He also lauded tax exemption on various edible and other items.
Calling the current budget as “revolutionary”, the Legislator hoped that the promises including waiving of loans under Kissan Credit Card made during last year’s Budget will soon be delivered on the ground. He said that the new Budget would certainly have a great positive impact on the socio-economic profile of the State.
Choudhary Qamar Hussain lauded the budget for all its schemes and announcements. He said that reservation categories quota promotion is a serious issue and the Supreme Court directions should be implemented in this regard. He called for construction of Bafliaz tunnel and timely release of funds so that they can be utilized to the maximum effect.
Pawan Kumar Gupta advocated for implementation of waiving up off Kisan Credit Loans as promised in the previous Budget. He further said that there are marked discrepancies in the funds available and those utilized on the ground in the budget. He also termed the projection of GDP as optimistic measure. He also criticized the setting up of asset recovery company (ARC).
Engineer Abdul Rashid called for enhancement of funds allocated to the districts and ensuring more involvement of the local representatives for need based and area specific utilization. He also pleaded for establishing of Tourism Development Authority in Karnah and Gurez, besides the holistic development of the tourist infrastructure of the Bangus Valley in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Abdul Rahim Rather while participating in the debate said that Budget is a comprehensive win and needs to be appreciated.
He said that measures should be taken to compensate the state on account of loses suffered due to Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and called for exploring measures to ensure that minerals of the State are judiciously extracted. He also called for taking the necessary steps to ensure that handicraft industry gets the requisite boost which would in turn contribute to the economy of the State in a big way.
Rather also called for undertaking necessary measures for ensuring plantation of high density crop on a large scale in different parts of the State to boost horticultural produce. He hailed the Government’s initiate for undertaking for regularization of the daily-wagers, casual labours working in different departments of the State. He demanded setting up of south campus of SKUAST-K so that the horticulturists get requisite scientific help and expertise.
Bashir Ahmad Dar terming the budget document as “people friendly” hailed the initiatives proposed by the Government. He said the losses suffered by State on account of IWT should be provided to the State and called for properly harnessing water resources of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dar asked for judicious utilization of Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Package. He called for developing Bangus Valley and for proper and need based implementation of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and other schemes. He also advocated for properly equipping the Police Department with latest technology. He further asked Government to enhance the CDF upto Rs 4 lakh.
Shakti Raj Parihar said that with the proper deliverance of promises made in the Budget, developmental agenda of the Government would soon be realized. He lauded the Government for implementation of 7th Pay Commission for employees with effect from April 1, 2018 and regularization of casual, daily rated, daily wagers. He hailed the Government for implementation of initiatives and programmes in the time-bound manner.
He called for establishment of Doda Tourism Development Authority and asked for waiving off of KCC loans. He called for augmenting the power sector which would resolve supply issues in the state besides opening employment opportunities for the youth. He further pleaded for granting the Pahari Status to the people of Doda district.
Shamim Firdous expressed hope that the 7th Pay Commission would be implemented in its scheduled time. Terming the issue of regularization of casual, daily-rated and daily-wagers as a “human issue”, she asked for taking immediate measures in this regard.
She called for taking steps for preservation of handicraft sector and also for renovation of the world famous Sulina Silk Factory besides invoking ban on Shahtoosh.
Vikar Rasool called for providing additional funds to the underdeveloped areas of the State to ensure their growth and development. He pleaded for early regularization of the causal, daily rated and daily wagers working in different departments. He advocated for separate budgetary provision for giving compensation to the people who get killed or injured in road and other tragic incidents. He also called for enhancement of Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Mohammad Ashraf Mir while hailing the Budget, said that funds allocation to various sectors as part of the budget is revolutionary and need to be complimented. He hailed various initiatives proposed in the budget and hope that they would be instrumental in giving our economy the necessary and requisite boost. He pleaded for creating budgetary provisions for tourism sector and for enhancement of ReTs honorarium besides advocating for development of the network of emporiums. He also called for enhancement of the CDF.
Ravinder Raina advocated for giving special focus on the industrial sector. He hailed the Government for considering regularization of casual labours, daily rated and daily wagers and hoped that the regularization process is completed in a time bound manner.
He congratulated the Finance Minister for keeping sufficient budgetary provisions in Health and Medical sector. He pleaded for increase in honorarium in favour of Anganwadi Workers, Asha Workers, SPOs and ReTs.
Javed Ahmed Rana while taking part in the discussions said that several measures should be taken to address the border issues of the State and demanded four lanning of the Highway to Poonch and development of Mughal road.