FD, PDMD conduct major Deptt-wise exercise
JAMMU, Apr 7: Jammu and Kashmir is likely to ask for around Rs 1 lakh crore Award from 15th Finance Commission of India, which has re-scheduled its three day visit to the State from April 11-13 in view of some untoward incidents in the Kashmir valley and would now be visiting the State, most likely after re-opening of Durbar Move in Srinagar, the summer capital.
“The Finance Department and Planning Development and Monitoring Department (PDMD) have already conducted an extensive exercise Department wise for seeking the `best possible Award’ from 15th Finance Commission, which would assess financial requirements of Jammu and Kashmir and its capacities to spend and fund big projects,” official sources told the Excelsior.
They said the State Government would seek Department wise allocations from the 15th Finance Commission. Though the exact amount, which the State would ask for from the Commission is being worked out, it would be roughly around Rs one lakh crore, nearly Rs 40,000 crore more than the 14th Finance Commission Award.
The 14th Finance Commission had given Jammu and Kashmir Rs 60,000 crore Award for the five years, which was applicable from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020. The 15th Finance Commission Award will be applicable from April 1, 2020 for a period of five financial years i.e. up to March 31, 2025.
The 15th Finance Commission comprising NK Singh as chairman, Shaktikanta Das and Anoop Singh as full members and Ramesh Chand and Ashok Lahiri as part time members, was scheduled to visit all three regions of the State including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh on April 11, 12 and 13. However, the visit has been deferred and is being re-scheduled. Though no reasons have been given officially for postponement of the visit, sources said, recent disturbances in the Kashmir valley could be one of the reasons. The Commission could now visit Jammu and Kashmir after re-opening of Durbar Move in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, sources said but added that fresh dates haven’t been finalized as yet.
On their part, the State administration was fully prepared to present its case before the new Finance Commission forcefully and secure maximum benefits from them for five-year period, beginning April 1, 2020.
“Focus of the State Government is on almost all sectors and the priority, of course, is development. Number of new projects and works, which the State Government proposed to take for the next five years from April 1, 2020 have been mentioned in the Government’s substantive claim that will be made before the new Finance Commission whenever it visits the State,” sources said.
According to sources, the Finance Department and Planning Development and Monitoring Department (PDMP) have conducted extensive Department wise exercise for making strong pitch before the 15th Finance Commission for handsome Award. The State could ask for around Rs one lakh crore for the five year Award from 2020 to 2025 as the 14th Finance Commission had given Rs 60,000 crore Award to Jammu and Kashmir, sources said, adding that the Finance Commission would also take into account the capacity of spending of 14th Finance Commission Award by the State Government.
“The Finance Commission takes into account various aspects while recommending the Award which includes the Amount utilized from the previous Commission, amount required from the State resources for funding some of the projects and schemes etc,” sources noted.
Sources said the Commission would need to define populism, as, the Commission’s ‘terms of references’ (ToR) had a provision for rewarding States, which were successful in eliminating or reducing expenditure incurred on populist schemes.
Sources added that the Commission would need to reappraise the formula of devolution of revenue through the Union’s taxes, because of a provision in its ToR. Further, the Commission was asked by some MPs to recommend a plan on compensating States which suffered revenue losses after the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Some Parliamentarians had also asked the Commission to reassess the criteria of classifying the States as ‘backward’.