PCI calls for Omar-Montek plan meeting on July 2

*J&K to seek Rs 8050 cr annual plan

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 18: Setting stage for annual plan finalisation of Jammu and Kashmir, the Planning Commission of India (PCI) today called final meeting between Deputy Chairman of PCI, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on July 2.
The State Government today received a communiqué from the Planning Commission fixing July 2 as the date for final plan meeting, which had earlier been postponed twice in view of differences between the two sides over the size of plan and its funding by the State.
Official sources confirmed to the Excelsior that the Planning Commission after deferring two previous meetings fixed for May 20 and June 2 has now sent another communiqué to the Planning and Development and Finance Departments of the State Government calling them for final plan meeting on July 2 at Yojana Bhawan in New Delhi.
The meeting would be held between Mr Ahluwalia and Mr Abdullah, who would be accompanied by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, Planning Minister Ajay Sadhotra, Minister of State for Finance and Planning Dr Manohar Lal Sharma and Economic Advisor to State Government, Jalil Ahmad Khan.
Prior to the final meeting, the Planning Commission Advisors and Members would hold another round of meeting with the State bureaucrats including Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, B R Sharma, Principal Secretary, Finance Department, B B Vyas and Administrative Secretaries and HoDs of important departments.
Sources said the Government was confident that it would be able to clinch a healthy annual plan of Rs 8050 crores for current financial year of 2013-14 after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah last month took up with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh the Planning Commission’s earlier refusal to sanction the highest ever plan for the current fiscal.
Instead of Rs 8050 crores worth plan, the Planning Commission had just offered the State Rs 5800 crores plan for 2013-14, which was Rs 1500 crores less than the last financial year of 2012-13. The Planning Commission had conveyed its decision to the State bureaucrats in a meeting in New Delhi. This had resulted into differences between the two sides leading to cancellation of May 20 plan finalisation meeting as the State had refused to accept Rs 5800 crores worth plan.
Despite approval of Rs 7300 crores worth annual plan in 2012-13, the State eventually ended up with getting only Rs 5800 crores as the Planning Commission withheld Rs 1500 crores of plan and Rs 630 crores under other heads causing a total loss of Rs 2130 crores to Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said the State Government has insisted on Rs 8050 crores worth plan and was now confident that the Planning Commission would approve it. In addition, it has sought Rs 600 crores under Prime Minister’s Re-construction Plan (PMRP). The State would also seek last year’s funds under PMRP, which are non-lapsable. During 2012-13, the State was approved Rs 700 crores under PMRP but it got just Rs 300 crores.
During 2012-13, the State’s annual plan was finalised on July 13.
The State Government has already started the District Development Board (DDB) meetings to approve development works of the districts for current fiscal year. At present, the districts were being given the plan amount for current year at par with last year. However, it has assured 10 per cent increase in the plan to all the districts if the Planning Commission approved the proposed plan of Rs 8050 crores in its favour.
Nevertheless, the State Government has authorized all the District Development Commissioners (DDCs) to utilise 25 per cent amount of the sanctioned plan during first three months of current financial year i.e. from April 1 to June 30 and another 25 per cent from July 1 to September 30. This was done to ensure that ongoing development works didn’t suffer and fresh works approved in the DDB meetings were taken up.
Sources said the delay in plan finalisation wouldn’t be a problem provided that the State got the healthy plan as projected by it for Rs 8050 crores.
“The delay in view of cancellation of May 20 and June 2 meetings wouldn’t matter if we are able to get 10 per cent step-up in the plan over last financial year,’’ sources said.

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