Jammu and Kashmir Budget 2023-2024

With the pandemic gone, efforts are on to put delayed and derailed development works back on track and the Rs. 1.18 lakh crore 2023-24 budget of Jammu and Kashmir is a step in that direction.
The focus areas that require attention and intervention have been identified and ample budget allocations are marked for these areas in the budget. The goal is to further improve the growth rate of 10% achieved in the previous year, increase revenue collection and establish associated industries to give a major boost to employment and economic growth.
Jammu and Kashmir has embraced the path of peace and the youth are in search of new avenues to come at par with the rest of India as far as sustaining a better life. For this, a massive skill development exercise has to be done, which includes the introduction of the latest streams and technologies at the college level, big industrial setups, start-ups and the exponential growth of small and medium entrepreneurs as well as self-help groups. A gander at the budget presented reveals that these are exactly the focus areas targeted in this budget. Enough budgetary provisions have been made to cater to all these aspects to take care of youth aspirations.
Clear-cut emphasis is placed on strengthening grass-roots democracy, as much attention is paid to the rural economy. Massive flows of funds have been assured for all three tiers of Panchayati Raj, with efforts on holistic improvement in infrastructure, roads, and water and setting up agro-based small-scale industries to double the income of farmers and other villagers. The Rural Development Department has also to play a major role and, as such, has been provided substantial funds. There is a vast scope in this sector and numerous schemes developed in consultation with experts are assigned to the budget.
Agriculture and horticulture are the economic game changers but have been static for quite some time. By parsing the data, root causes have been identified, and in this budget, the focus is on changing the scenario with the help of agricultural and horticultural experts. Scientific farming with multiple crops, reducing pre and post-harvest losses, financing major and minor farming equipment, and using solar pumps to reduce electricity expenses are the few targeted areas. The projected plan is to develop agro- and horticulture-based associated industries by providing easy finance and technical expertise to double the farmers’ income and generate new employment avenues for the rural youth. Doubling milk production, well-coordinated milk collection through cooperatives, and poultry and sheep farming are a few other important sectors getting due attention in the budget.
Health infrastructure has been a major area of concern during COVID-19 and taking forward the good work of the new GMCs, provisions have now been made to have the requisite equipment, facilities and laboratories in these hospitals. The strengthening of rural health care has received a major impetus in this budget.
Power sector reforms and the augmentation of the distribution network will continue. The projection of doubling the electricity generation capacity in the coming years is there. Budgetary allocations are there to develop a road network with scores of bridges and tunnels to make the remotest areas accessible. Major HEPs will generate new employment opportunities for locals and change the outlook of rural Jammu and Kashmir.
With meetings of the G-20 assigned to Kashmir, major showcasing of art, culture, heritage and craft are projected. Already popular tourist destinations are stressed due to exponential infrastructure growth, and serious environmental and ecological concerns exist. The plan is to develop alternative tourist destinations and religious circuits to ease this stress. Dome trains, infrastructural development at new tourist places, conservation and beautification of lakes, and new ropeways are a few highlights. Involving women in all these activities and empowering them and local artisans is on the way. Systematically, products and projects are planned to give a major boost to the overall economy of the UT through tourism and related activities. Making pilgrimages safer, improving infrastructure, and developing proper tourism in the vicinity are also projected in this budget.
Another budget priority is border area development. Bunkers, roads, bridges, and agriculture in these areas will also get major financing this year. All PMDP projects lingering due to COVID-19 are to be completed in this financial year.
Train connectivity to Kashmir and the widening of the major portion of the Jammu-Srinagar highway will be achieved in this financial year as adequate budgetary provisions are made. The aspirations of all regions have been taken into account; there is something for everyone. Enough planning and thought have been applied to create an overall well-planned and futuristic budget that will give impetus to the economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir. Funds have been put at the disposal of the administration, and now it is the responsibility of the local officials to rise to the occasion and utilize them to achieve the projected growth targets.