Govt to implement PPP mode in 10 key sectors: Drabu

*GST only after adequate constitutional safeguards

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Dec 4: Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment, Dr Haseeb A Drabu today said that Government has identified 10 key sectors for rapid infrastructure up-gradation under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode and steps would be taken soon for giving practical shape to this path-breaking policy framework.
Addressing press conference here this morning, Dr Drabu said that the decision to adopt the PPP mode has been taken keeping in view infrastructure deficit in crucial sectors and financial constraints of the Government. “This mode will help the Government in time-bound asset creation in key sectors”, he added.
“Initially, 10 critical sectors like housing, public utilities, healthcare, roads, tourism, technical education, sports, commercial establishments, horticulture and animal husbandry have been identified for implementation of PPP mode”, he said.
In the housing sector, new projects will be taken up for execution under PPP mode at Rakh-e-Arth, Jawahar Nagar and Gandhi Nagar while as in roads sector the projects to be taken up under PPP mode include Sonwar-Gallandar road, Chatroo-Vailoo Tunnel, Mughal Road Tunnel and inter-district roads. In tourism sector the PPP projects include up-gradation of infrastructure at Ranjit Sagar Dam and Doodhpathri.
In sports, he said two Sports Cities, one each at Jammu and Srinagar would be setup under PPP mode besides construction of world class sports stadiums. In health sector, PPP mode would involve setting up state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities at Government hospitals while as in horticulture sector high-density plantation would be promoted through this mode and in technical education skill development institutions would be established under the new initiative. He said in commercial projects sector, multi-level parking facilities and solid waste management would be covered under PPP.
Stating that PPP is a funding and operational model for public infrastructure projects requiring large finance and is successful in many States of the country, Dr Drabu said that the line departments would identify and have ownership of such projects. “Concurrence of Finance and Planning and Development Departments would be a prerequisite before bidding for the projects under PPP mode,” he said and added that all PPP projects will have to follow approved models and guidelines and will be implemented only after the approval of the State Cabinet.
About Skill Development Mission, the Finance Minister said, “Government is targeting three segments of population including educated unemployed, uneducated unemployed and practicing artisans to achieve the objective of creating and managing skill based enterprises in the State”. For skill building no new infrastructure would be created and existing infrastructure in Employment, Technical and School Education Departments would be used, he added.
He said District Employment & Career Counseling Centers, ITIs and autonomous institutions like J&K Board of Construction and Other Workers, Building Centers, RSETI, JKEDI, Craft Development Institute, Institute of Hotel Management etc would be used for implementation of Skill Development Mission.
Elaborating on skill building, Dr Drabu said the Government is also looking forward to impart specific skills through ITIs by roping in private partners. He said each ITI will specialize in imparting a particular set of skills. “For instance one ITI can be identified for imparting specialized training in telecom technology. Similarly, another one can be identified for imparting training in banking, financial services and insurance with probable private partners like Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone, Aircel and J&K Bank and an ITI in Doda will focus on hydropower industry with JP Associates as probable private partner,” he said.
He said the District Employment Centres will also act as skill centers with specific focus on a particular sector in each district like trade and tourism in Srinagar, Baramulla, Jammu and Katra, transport, storage and communication in Anantnag, Kupwara, Udhampur and Samba, Small and Medium Scale Industries in Samba and Kathua, Handicrafts and Handloom in Srinagar, Leh, Kargil and Kathua.
He disclosed that Skill Development Mission will be headed by Chief Minister as its Chairman and there will be coordination departments like Technical Education and associated departments including Industry, Labour & Employment, Tourism, Education, Health and Horticulture.
Responding to a question regarding the implementation of GST regime in the State, Dr Drabu, “though it is a good and hassle-free tax regime and would help J&K boost its revenues but we have to ensure adequate constitutional safeguards before going ahead with the implementation of the new regime”.
He said the two other issues that need to be taken care of before the implementation of GST regime in the State include continuation of various exemptions for the industry in J&K, as there is no provision of exemptions in the GST regime and the State’s special powers to levy tax on services.
While pointing towards financial autonomy to the State Universities, the Finance Minister said that with this decision of the Government, the Varsities would be able to choose courses which can raise money. “We are also planning to grant financial autonomy to some of the Government Colleges but the decision in this regard would be taken at appropriate time particularly after assessing the outcome of the financial autonomy to State Universities”, he added.

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