significant power reforms then.

Towards plan finalization
June 12 will be a crucial day for the State Planning Commission because a high level meeting between the State official delegation and the Union Planning Commission Member will take place on that day. The State has projected the plan outlay of 7000 crore rupees for the financial year 2012-13. The planning department of the State is in charge of the Chief Minister and he has directed concerned quarters in the secretariat to gear up to presenting the State’s case forcefully at the crucial meeting. Consequently a high powered team of 25 top bureaucrats headed by the Chief Secretary and attended by Commissioner-Secretaries and HODs of several departments will begin their day-long deliberation at the Union Planning Commission. Obviously we expect the concerned officers to make a forceful and convincing presentation of the State’s case for increased annual plan outlay. The State authorities have envisaged 10 per cent increase in previous year’s total outlay. It may be mentioned here that the State had projected Rs 7300 crore worth annual plan and Rs 700 crore Prime Minister’s Re-construction Plan (PMRP) for 2012-13. The projected plan was 10 per cent over and above the previous year’s plan of Rs 6600 crore. However, the PMRP amount, which was Rs 1200 crore during last financial year, has been pegged at Rs 700 crore this year as some of the schemes undertaken under the PMRP have been completed.
Enhancement in the annual plan is obvious and also justifiable for the bare reason that cost of living has increased during the past year. The State needs to keep pace with the rising prices when new projects of development are launched. There are several plans and projects that could not be completed within the specific time owing to many reasons. But that does not mean that new projects will not be undertaken though we expect the Government to expedite the pending and on-going projects. As the process has been initiated and will take its normal course, we need to refer to the power sector that has remained a constant weakness of the governments in the State. Shortage of power has reached saturation point and a critical situation exists both in Srinagar and Jammu divisions. Now that the Planning Commission will be discussing state budget for the year 2012-13, we would urge all to take up the crucial issue of power supply to the state. In recent past, a great hue and cry was raised about the State Government taking back the mega hydroelectric power projects from NHPC. The people are told that this step would be the panacea for power woes of the State and once these projects are taken back power will flow in full measure to the state and to household consumers. But as is the wont with such situations, after little bit of media hype nothing on the ground has happened except that power supply condition has worsened far greater in Jammu region which is faced with intense hot summer. “It was in view of this that the State Government had batted for annual power reforms grant to the tune of Rs 2000 crore for few years till the State managed to bring reforms and improve its revenue”, sources said, adding that the Planning Department assured to give a thought to the State’s demand. Worthwhile to mention here that J&K Government was given Rs 1300 crore worth annual power reforms grant for three years in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09. The grant was later stopped as the Government didn’t take
The feeling is that the Union Planning Commission will give frugal treatment to the demand of the State for enhanced annual plan to the tune of 7000 crore rupees. But we also know that in many cases the allocations have not been fully utilized by the departments or organizations concerned. Many of them delay implementation of developmental plans and then towards the end of the financial year when barely a month is left for presenting the new budget, they swing into action and overdoing the things begin to rush through the proposed projects. This unsystematic and hush hush type of development or completion of projects is not the right way of doing things. It leads to corruption and to bad developmental work. While the Sate is projecting its demand it has also to be accountable to the utilization of the funds within a time bound scheme and on right projects with right instruments of implementation. Now that we hopefully will be having peaceful summers without unrest and disturbance, we need to pay full attention towards the developmental efforts in the State. It is of much importance that projects already taken in hand but still incomplete should be completed on war footing. Let the Government not forget that next assembly elections are not far off. What it does today will have impact on those elections?