Governor likely to approve J&K’s full budget today

Infra development, building systems, sports to get major focus

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Dec 14: Governor Satya Pal Malik-headed State Administrative Council (SAC) was likely to approve general budget of Jammu and Kashmir for the financial year 2019-20 at 5 pm tomorrow with major focus on infrastructure development, building system and institutions and giving boost to sports in the State besides taking care of all other sectors including farming.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the SAC would approve the budget including Financial Statement for the year 2019-20, Revised Estimates for 2018-19 and Appropriation Bill tomorrow, five days ahead of imposition of President’s rule in the State when powers to pass the budget would have shifted to Parliament.
“The Finance Department is fully ready with the budget and it was likely to be approved by the SAC at 5 pm tomorrow,” they said, adding that all relevant documents including the Appropriation bill etc would also be passed in the meeting.
Excelsior had exclusively reported that the State Government proposed to pass full budget for the financial year 2019-20 before December 19 when the State would come under the President’s rule and powers of passing the budget would shift to Parliament. The Government had decided against taking Vote-on-Account for first three or six months of next financial year to give democratically elected Government a chance in May to pass the budget in June as it felt that all resources to be incorporated in the budget were known and passing of full budget would give pace to development works in the State right from the beginning of financial year on April 1, 2019.
“The budget for 2019-20 could be to the tune of around Rs 90,000 crore,” sources said, adding it was in view of this context that the State Government is focusing on major infrastructural development and will take big projects across the State for execution in the State sector.
The capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar are poised for major development initiatives in the budget, sources said, adding that there will be equal focus on semi-urban and rural areas.
“Building infrastructure, systems and institutions would be major focus of the budget,” they pointed out.
Sports will be another priority area in the budget as the Government wants to focus on this sector to keep the youth busy in sports activities so that they don’t fall into wrong hands and indulge in stone pelting and other undesirable activities.
Asserting that every sector will get its due, sources said youth, industry, tourism, farming etc were among priority areas of the Government and the budget will take care of all of them.
“Instead of opting for taking up small developmental projects like culverts and nullahs, which used to be the case with budget presented by the political Government, the focus would be on major projects,” sources said, adding that execution of small projects will be left to the District Development Commissioners unless the District Development Boards (DDBs) are set up.
Sources confirmed that during the Governor’s rule for first six months, which expires on December 19, the Governor had the powers to pass full budget on its own without taking approval of the Parliament. However, when the Governor rule is converted into President’s rule on December 19, the powers for passing the budget would shift to Parliament.
However, since the Parliament is being disrupted ever since its winter session started couple of days back, the State Government had genuine apprehensions that approval to budget would get delayed and, therefore, it decided to approve it before imposition of President’s rule in the State.
Then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu had presented current financial year’s general budget in the Legislative Assembly on January 11 this year. The budget was to the tune of Rs 80,313 crore. Sources said there could be around 10 percent hike in next financial year’s budget as compared to current fiscal year.
Out of Rs 80,313 crore worth budget, Drabu had kept whopping Rs 29,128 crore for capital spending.