Parl nod to J&K budget, Supplementary Grants as RS considers, returns bill amid din

Rs 1.18 lakh cr budget, Rs 3711 cr grants approved

No discussion, FM’s statement due to Oppn protests

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Mar 27: The Rajya Sabha today gave nod to Jammu and Kashmir annual budget for the year 2023-24 after considering and returning the J&K Appropriation Bill to Lok Sabha amid slogan shouting by the Opposition members on Adani issue. Supplementary grants for the year 2022-23 were also considered and returned.
With this, J&K’s budget to the tune of Rs 1,18,950 crore for 2023-24 and supplementary grants worth Rs 3711.7176 crore for 2022-23 have been cleared by the Parliament.
The Union Finance Ministry headed by Nirmala Sitharaman will now release the budget for next year as well as supplementary grants for current fiscal year to Jammu and Kashmir shortly.
Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Choudhary tabled Jammu and Kashmir’s budget in Lok Sabha on March 13 and Rajya Sabha on March 14 with no speech in view of din in both the Houses. It was cleared by Lok Sabha on March 21 within 20 minutes amid protests and was considered and returned by Rajya Sabha today again within 10-15 minutes during sloganeering by the Opposition members.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was present in the Rajya Sabha when Jammu and Kashmir’s annual budget was taken up for consideration but it was moved by Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Choudhary for consideration and returning.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar was in the chair.
However, neither the Finance Minister could make any statement nor any member was able to speak on budget during consideration in the Rajya Sabha because of continued sloganeering by the Opposition members.
It may be mentioned here that there is no MP in Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir since February 2021. All four MPs from J&K had completed their six-year-term in February 2021. New Rajya Sabha members from J&K couldn’t be elected in the absence of Assembly elections.
This year, no discussion could be held in the Parliament on Jammu and Kashmir budget. Copies of the budget were laid in both Houses of Parliament amid din and the budget was also passed during ruckus. Even the Finance Minister couldn’t make any statement in any of the two Houses except the written one tabled in both Houses.
This was fourth straight budget of Jammu and Kashmir which was presented in Parliament in absence of Legislative Assembly here. There is no Assembly in place here after BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP Government in June 2018.
With approval from the Parliament, the Union Finance Ministry is expected to release 50 percent budget for 2023-24 for Jammu and Kashmir shortly followed by rest while supplementary grants are also likely to pour in soon.
Officials said the original grant for the financial year 2022-23 for Jammu and Kashmir was Rs 1,12,950 crore. However, during the course of year from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023, an amount of Rs 3711.7176 crore shall be drawn in excess of grant under the relevant Demands out of the Consolidated Fund of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to defray expenses on services and purposes required during the period.
This had been largely necessitated due to expenses on account of increase in salaries due to hike in DA at the rate of 4 percent, annual increment, grant-in-aid, subsidy and other revenue expenses including pension and other retirement benefits, increased capital allocation under different sectors like Irrigation and Flood Control projects, Tribal Sub Plan projects and Skill Development projects.
Total budget of Jammu and Kashmir for 2023-24 stands at Rs 1,18,500 crore.
This is the second consecutive year when the outlay for Jammu and Kashmir has exceeded Rs one lakh crore.
Of Rs 1,18,950 crore worth budget, revenue expenditure will be Rs 77,009 crore and capital expenditure Rs 41,491 crore.
The Government is confident that the budget will lead to development in all sectors.
There has been Rs 1313 crore provision for Panchayati Raj Institutions in Jammu and Kashmir which will also give boost to development works in rural areas.
As per the budget, vacant posts in the Union Territory will be filled up on fast track basis. It said 33,426 posts have been referred to recruitment agencies. Among them, 25,450 selections have been made including 2436 in Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited.
Around 2,02,749 youth have been covered under various Self-employment Schemes and target is to cover 2,37,000 by the end of current year. Next year, around three lakh youth will be covered under all the Self-employment Schemes.