J&K LG highlights steps taken for managing economy during Covid to FM

JAMMU, Nov 16: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha highlighted the key reforms and steps taken for managing the UT’s economy during Covid, its growth potential, focus areas, besides putting across issues that require consideration by the Union government during interaction with the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, in a meeting chaired by her on Monday evening.
The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs held interactions with Chief Ministers, Finance Ministers of all States, and Lt Governors of UTs via virtual conference with a view to enhance the investment climate in the country and to step up investment, infrastructure, and growth through a consultative process in the post-pandemic world.
Highlighting the steps taken for growth in the economy, official spokesman here on Tuesday said that the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that investment in J&K UT is expected to reach Rs. 35,000 Crore by December 2021 and proposals for Rs. 25,000 Crore have already been received; besides land has been approved for proposals worth Rs.1700 Crore.
He added that out of 6000 acres of land earmarked for the development of Industrial Estates, 3000 acres have already been identified.
Speaking on the Tourism sector, the Lt Governor outlined that the J&K Tourism Policy 2020 has been notified to boost the Tourism Sector.
He informed that the tourist footfall has increased manifold in the UT during winter months. From 1935 tourists in June 2020, the number has increased to 1282572 in September 2021.
The Lt Governor also observed that the tax collection has shown significant growth and resilience and the UT is expecting to achieve the targets of the GST and Excise collection over the remaining period of the year.
On the steps taken for managing the economy, the Lt Governor said that a holistic package of Rs. 1353 crore was announced during last year for Inclusive Growth by which 3.44 lakh accounts of borrowers involving Rs 750 crore were benefited by interest subvention of 5 percent under Business Revival.
The Lt Governor said that under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, 766 Beneficiaries were benefited under WCDL (working capital Demand Loan) for business establishments involving Rs 96.68 Crore, 61641 Beneficiaries benefitted under GECL-1 (Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line-1) involving Rs 1872.72 crore, besides free rice was provided to 98566 individual beneficiaries and pulses to 31069 families and 289 Beneficiaries benefitted under Business Support Loan General involving Rs 74.37 crore.
Also, under Covid-19 Regulatory Package, Term Loans & working capital were disbursed to 361 borrowers amounting to Rs. 39.17 crore; Special credit facility was provided to street vendors with an initial working capital of Rs 10000, disbursed to 14243 cases under PM-SVANIDHI Scheme; Rs. 5827 crores was disbursed to 824440 KCC Crop Accounts and Rs 636 crore to 122327 AH&F Accounts. Loan slab under Credit Card Scheme for handlooms and handicrafts has been enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs with interest subvention of 7%, the Lt Governor added.
Further, Rs 462.31 crore were disbursed to 21,11,169 beneficiaries under different social security schemes and to other downtrodden sections of the society like Shikarawalla, Ponnywallas, Tourist guides, Dandiwallas, building and other construction workers, flower growers, street vendors etc.; Rs. 1290 crore was disbursed to over 2 crore beneficiaries through DBT during the current year and Rs 407 crore was sanctioned to 19645 youth identified under B2V programme including 6679 women entrepreneurs.
Elaborating on the key focus areas of the UT, the Lt Governor said that after the democratic decentralization in the spirit of 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 14 sectors have been identified for Investment at a large scale with special focus on tourism and employment.
He said that export promotion for Agricultural and Horticulture products, revival of handicraft and traditional art in J&K, development of heritage sites and enhancing Pilgrimage tourism, sports Infrastructure improvement with Youth empowerment and engagement, Improvement of basic amenities like Power,Water supply, Solid Waste Management, Road Connectivity, and health sector are priorities.
The Lt Governor said that under Mission Youth- first of its kind initiative, focus is being laid on livelihood generation, education and skill development, counseling, financial assistance, sports, and recreation with 4500 youth clubs under process of establishment.
Moreover, under Mumkin, 250 vehicles have been distributed among eligible youth for their sustainable livelihood in the transport sector, and 200 women applicants have been facilitated for generating their livelihood via Tejaswini scheme.
The Lt Governor also put forth the challenges and issues faced by the UT including resource gap, higher cost of delivery of services due to unique topography.
He also highlighted the issue of pending approvals of Tourism projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).
He highlighted that J&K UT has been number one in the country for enforcing reforms in expenditure management and the account of each penny is available in public domain. The funds are being spent after following all the norms as provided under GFR.
The Lt Governor also talked about the recent e-initiatives for bringing unprecedented transparency and accountability in the governance system of J&K, which include BEAMS, e-Office, Transparency in execution of works, PROOF (Photographic Record of On-site Facility), Empowerment (Enabling Monitoring and Public Overview of works being executed and resources for meaningful transparency), besides various other e-initiatives aiming at better financial discipline.
As an outcome of the above institutional reforms, now sharp focus is laid on completion of works in a time-bound manner, financial reforms and interventions initiated are showing impact on the ground in completion of the projects. 9229 projects and works have been completed during 2018-19, 12637 in 2019-20, and 21943 in 2020-21, saving 20% cost due to e-tendering. Physical Verification of 14694 works and projects has been conducted from 2020-21 till date, the Lt Governor added.