One pc share for both UTs from divisive pool of taxes
*CGST to be amended for Tribunal
*Highest ever grant: Dr Jitendra
* Budgetary support for J&K industrial units
* All 354 uncovered villages to get mobile services
* Funds kept for relief, ration to Kashmiri migrants
* Adequate funds to engage youth in J&K
* Provision of money for martyrs’ families, firing victims
JAMMU, Feb 1: In a major boost to infrastructural development in newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced financial grants of Rs 30,757 cr for J&K and Rs 5958 crore for Ladakh which will give push to ongoing as well as upcoming projects in the financial year of 2020-21.
These were the first major financial grants for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh since October 31, the day erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was formally divided into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh and there were demands from both the UT Governments for release of grants to expedite ongoing developmental projects and take new ones in the hand.
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Thirty-four Central Ministers who had visited Jammu and Kashmir last month as part of Central Government’s public outreach programme had stated that the Government of India was committed to development of the Union Territory.
While presenting annual budget for the year 2020-21 in the Parliament, Sitharaman allocated Rs 30,757 crore for newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Rs 5958 crore for the UT of Ladakh.
Out of total financial grants of Rs 30,757 crore for Jammu and Kashmir, the Finance Minister has kept a provision of Rs 279 crore as the contribution to the Union Territory’s Disaster Response Fund while Rs 30,478 crore have been allocated for meeting the resources gap, as per the budget document.
The Union Territory of Ladakh has been allocated total grants of Rs 5958 crore.
Out of these grants, the Finance Ministry has earmarked Rs 83.38 crore for Rural Development, Rs 80.69 crore for Public Works, Rs 54.07 core for Power, Rs 52 crore for Civil Aviation and Rs 47.5 crore for Tourism sector among others.
In her budget speech, the Finance Minister said the Government is fully committed to supporting the all-round development of the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Commenting on Rs 30,757 crore worth financial grants for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh told the Excelsior that this was the biggest ever grant for any UT in the country.
“As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, this is the second highest financial grant for single financial year of 2020-21 after Rs 80,000 crore worth Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP). This will go a long way in infrastructural development of Jammu and Kashmir. The grants for Ladakh Union Territory will also give boost to development works there,” Dr Jitendra Singh said.
According to sources, the annual budget of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the financial year of 2020-21 will also be passed in current budget session of the Parliament. The budget for Jammu and Kashmir will be introduced in both Houses of the Parliament by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Jammu and Kashmir’s budget will continue to be passed by the Parliament till Legislative Assembly elections are held in the Union Territory.
In her budget speech, Sitharaman said the 15th Finance Commission has recommended 41 per cent share in the divisible pool of taxes for States and 1 per cent for the newly created Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh for the financial year 2020-21, thus retaining the devolution formula of the earlier Commission.
The 14th Commission had recommended the share of States at 42 per cent in the divisible pool of taxes.
Sitharaman said the Commission has given its first report pertaining to 2020-21.
“However, we have to take into account recent changes due to re-organization of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. We have notionally estimated that the share of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir would have come around 0.85 per cent of the divisible pool,” the Finance Commission report said.
It added that the Commission believed there is a strong case for enhancing the share to the two UTs (erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir) from 0.85 per cent to 1 per cent to meet the security and other special needs of the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Since this enhancement has to be met from the Union’s resources, we recommend that the aggregate share of States may be reduced by 1 percentage point to 41 per cent of the divisible pool,” the Commission said.
The budget document pointed out that the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) will have to be amended to update the definition of Union Territory in view of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act under which the erstwhile State of J&K was bifurcated into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
The amendment will be required in Section 109 of the CGST. The bill will be amended to make the provision for Appellate Tribunal and its benches applicable in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The budget proposed Rs 2192 crore provision for the financial year of 2020-21 to assist industrial units by providing budgetary support in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North East. It said provision of budgetary support for the units is a goodwill gesture which will improve competitiveness of the units and promote investment development of these States and Union Territories.
The budget also has a provision of providing mobile services in 354 uncovered villages in border and other priority areas of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The lion’s share of the Home Ministry Budget has gone to the paramilitary forces with the total allocation of Rs 92,054.53 crore for 2020-21.
The allocation to the paramilitary forces will be distributed proportionately to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is engaged in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and often deployed for internal security duties, and the Border Security Force, which guards the Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders.
An estimated 1.1 percent expenditure of allocated budget to the Home Ministry will be spent on monthly reimbursement to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for expenditure on major components such as cash relief/free ration to migrants, ex-gratia relief to next of kin of police/security personnel martyred, relief to victims of cross firing etc.
Another 1.1 percent expenditure of the budget will be used for Security Related Expenditure of Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Rs 2000 crore have been earmarked for Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Jammu and Kashmir Police for several programmes to engage the youth of Jammu and Kashmir in activities like sports and culture, medical camps, veterinary camps and Vocational Training Programmes.
Provision of funds has also been kept in the budget for `Bharat Darshan and Watan Ko Jano’ tours, empower women of J&K through setting up of Resource Centres of SEWA for vocational training and other activities like Research Study by ICSSR, Ministry of Homan Resources Development on specific issues concerning special regions relating to J&K.
FM quotes Kashmiri poem
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commenced her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha today by quoting a poem in Kashmiri and its Hindi translation.
The poem talked about Shalimar Bagh and Dal Lake in Kashmir and underlined that the country is for every citizen.
It mentioned that the situation in the Kashmir valley is turning normal after the abrogation of Article 370.
”Humara Watan Khilte Hue Shalimar Bagh Jaise, Humara Watan Dal Lake Mein Khilte Hue Kamal Jaisa, Nau Jawanon Ke Garam Khoon Jaisa, Mera Watan Tera Watan, Humara Watan, Duniya Ka Sabse Pyara Watan,” she said.
The poem was written by Pandit Dinanath Koul.
The paragraphp from the poem read by the Finance Minister means everything that we do, all of us do, is for this beautiful country.