J&K, Ladakh UT budgets for next 5 months to be finalized by Oct 14

Funds to be allocated as per requirements
*Current budget to be divided into 2 parts

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 10: In a significant decision aimed at ensuring that the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh didn’t face any financial problems after their formal creation on October 31, the Government today ordered that separate budgets of the two UTs will be prepared by October 14 for next five months beginning November 1.
The two Union Territories will have their own budgets and Central grants for remaining five months of the current financial years i.e. 2019-20 and next financial year of 2020-21 for which the preparations were already afoot.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Government today ordered separation of budgets for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories from November 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. It directed that the separate budgets should be prepared by October 14 well ahead of the Union Home Ministry’s deadline of October 31 for creation of the two Union Territories.
Simultaneously, the Government also directed that current financial year’s budget should be divided into two parts.
One of the budgets will be for seven months from April 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 which will be called as the budget for State of Jammu and Kashmir while two separate budgets will be prepared for next five months from November 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, which will be labeled as the budgets for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
As two separate budgets for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have to be prepared before October 14 i.e. within the next four days, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta has called upon All Administrative Secretaries to take up the task on top priority and convene meetings with the Departments tomorrow to finalize their proposals. He also called for submission of segregated budget proposals on BEAMS portal by tomorrow.
Sources said the Finance Department was expected to come up with two separate budgets for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by October 14, which would require the Government approval and will come into effect from November 1 this year as the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be divided into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on October 31.
Sources said the budgetary allocations for remaining period of five months would be distributed between two Union Territories as per the requirements and resources.
“Segregation of budget proposals had become necessity following Central Government decision to bifurcate the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on August 5 while scrapping special Constitutional provisions of the State,” sources pointed out.
They further said that the budgets for next financial year of 2020-21 will be prepared separately by the Finance Departments of J&K and Ladakh UTs, which will be created after October 31. Both the UTs will have their own budgets for the next fiscal year of 2020-21 beginning April 1, 2020.
The Finance Department has also initiated the exercise for discussions on budget proposals for next financial year of 2020-21 from October 14.
The Department has sought Action Taken Report (ATR) on the budget announcements, if any, besides complete details on Establishment Budget from the Departments to finalize discussions.
“The discussions on the proposals of Jammu/Ladakh based Heads of Departments/ DC/ CEO/ Leh/Kargil will be held through video conferencing. Only those officers will be called for the budget meetings whose presence is felt necessary,” sources said.
Starting October 14, the discussions will continue till October 18 in six to seven shifts daily.
However, preliminary exercise for the budget was set into motion by the Finance Department on August 30.
Annual budget for 2019-20 was passed on December 15 last year during the Governor’s rule with the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik approving the budget estimates as well as revised estimates. The budget was to the tune of Rs 88,911 crore.
During past some years, the annual budget is being approved in the month of January. Last budget by a political Government was introduced and passed in the State Legislature in January-February session in 2018 by the then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu.
Sources said that in the absence of Assembly, the SAC would give nod to the budgetary proposals for the next financial year of 2020-21.