Decentralization to be essence of future planning: CS

Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam chairing a meeting in Srinagar on Thursday.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam chairing a meeting in Srinagar on Thursday.

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Sept 17: In a marathon preparatory budget meeting cum workshop conducted by the Finance Department the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam today directed the district administration to make Panchayats and local bodies the units of their respective plan formulation as per the 73rd and 74thamendment of the Constitution.
The Chief Secretary emphasized that all plans should be the sum total of the needs and aspirations of people and represent their suggestions as well. He maintained that it will ensure creation of assets that are conceived by locals and therefore has a greater sense of ownership attached to them.
The CS also directed that release of district plan funds should be made simple and Deputy Commissioners to be fully made involved in the planning process to set priorities within the district as per people’s demand and developmental requirements.
Financial Commissioner Finance, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta said that the workshop is the prelude to the original motive of making planning a people-centric activity. He said that the workshop has been conducted to sensitize Deputy Commissioners about the whole planning process that should be participatory and aspiring as per ground needs of people at large.
The FC said that DCs should identify the projects to be taken up during the annual plans. He further asked them that they will be informed beforehand about envelope of each component of district budget so that they had a ample preparatory window to plan prudently.
Dr Mehta further stated that J&K is on the mission of fully strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions and the budget 2021-22 would be a dedicated exercise towards that.
He asked the officers to coordinate well with each other so that fund release is timely. He urged that there is a need for monthly review of plans and continuous communication between the district administration and Civil Secretariat.
He directed all the Deputy Commissioners to review their next year plans in entirety, do needs assessment and communicate problems for timely resolution.
Principal Secretary, H&UDD, Dheeraj Gupta; Principal Secretary, PWD, Shailendra Kumar; DG Budget, Mohammad Yaqoob Itoo; DG Expenditure Division II, Tariq Ahmad Khan; DG(PP), Shehzada Bilal Ahmad, Joint Director Resources, Shoukat Hussain, Deputy Director Budget, Shafat Yehya were present in the meeting.
All Deputy Commissioners of J&K and DG Expenditure Division I, Ajay Kumar Sharma and many other Jammu based officers and officials participated in the meeting through video conferencing.
Both the Principal Secretaries gave their valuable suggestions regarding making the planning process more effective and expenditure oriented. They besides gave inputs to create a robust mechanism for reaping better results on ground.
DG Budget in his presentation revealed that for 2020-21 J&K has a District Capex outlay of 5136.40 crore which is 40% more than the outlay of 2019-20. He further informed that Rural Development has been given the highest priority as maximum expenditure of district capex has been incurred on it.
The meeting was informed that the main objective of future budgeting is providing devolving functions, functionaries and funds to PRI’s.
The DCs were also directed to gear up for the B2V3 program as the same was termed as a festival of transparency and transformation.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary chaired the 8th meeting of State Level Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U) Mission.
Administrative Secretaries of Finance, Housing & Urban Development and Revenue, besides Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation and concerned Heads of Departments participated in the meeting.
The Chief Secretary reviewed the progress achieved under the four verticals of PMAY-U namely Beneficiary Led Individual House Construction or Enhancement (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) and In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR).
The Chief Secretary approved the department’s consolidation of demand survey in all 78 cities and towns of the Union Territory. The survey which identifies 79,331 households under various components of the mission has verified and revalidated the eligibility of the identified beneficiaries.
Taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the beneficiaries from weaker section in constructing the dwelling unit without any upfront financial assistance, Chief Secretary asked the department to provide initial assistance comprising 25% of the total assistance in advance to the beneficiaries of BLC category, subject to fulfilling of the condition of initial geo-tagging and judicial under taking by the beneficiary.
Further, the SLSMC also approved 130 DPRs comprising 20,753 beneficiaries under BLC category under PMAY-U, with a total financial implication of Rs. 1128.32 crore.