Sitharaman to present J&K’s budget in LS today, to be passed before March 31

Third straight budget of UT in Parl in absence of Assembly

*Govt hopes nearly Rs one lakh cr allocation will boost development

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 13: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir in Lok Sabha tomorrow. This will be third straight budget of J&K to be presented in the Parliament in absence of elected Assembly in the Union Territory.
Top officials of Jammu and Kashmir especially those affiliated with the Finance Department have already reached New Delhi to be available for giving final touch to the budget along with the Union Finance Ministry officials and remain available in the capital for any queries.
Sitharaman will present budget of J&K in Lok Sabha at 12 noon tomorrow, official sources told the Excelsior.
Excelsior had today exclusively reported that the Jammu and Kashmir budget will be presented in the Parliament by the Union Finance Minister next week and that top officials of the Union Territory have been sounded about it and asked to remain present in the Union capital.
Jammu and Kashmir’s budget had to be presented in the Parliament in the absence of elected Assembly in the Union Territory due to delay in conduct of Assembly elections.
Sitharaman will be presenting third straight budget of Jammu and Kashmir in the Parliament tomorrow.
She had presented J&K’s budget for 2020-21 on March 17, 2020 and 2021-22 on March 17, 2021. Tomorrow, she will present the budget for 2022-23.
The budget for 2019-2020 was adopted by the then State Administrative Council (SAC) here while budget of 2018-19 was last to be presented in the Assembly of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir by then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu before the Government collapsed after withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition Government by the BJP in June 2018.
There were reports that Jammu and Kashmir might get around Rs one lakh crore worth budget for third consecutive year. In 2020-21, the UT was allocated Rs 1.01 lakh crore in the budget which went up to Rs 1.08 lakh crore in 2021-22.
The UT Government is quite confident that it will be a hefty budget which will lead to more infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Government is also expecting significant budgetary allocations for both urban and rural local bodies though spending by the District Development Councils (DDCs), Block Development Councils (BDCs) and Panchayats remain an area of concern.
“Healthy grant for DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats will lead to further development in rural areas,” sources pointed out.
Health Department is another area in which Jammu and Kashmir could get major focus, they said.
Prior to presentation of the budget, top officials of the Finance Department held series of meetings with different departments to ascertain their requirements for next financial year of 2022-23. This was followed by the Finance Department meetings with the officials of the Union Finance Ministry.
The Union Home Ministry has major say in budget of the Union Territories. This is more so in cases of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as it has to spend a lot on Security Related Expenditure (SRE) due to three decades long militancy.
Jammu and Kashmir budget has to be passed by both Houses of the Parliament before March 31.
“In view of financial discipline maintained by Jammu and Kashmir, the Finance Ministry is expected to increase the budget for next financial year as compared to current fiscal year,” sources said but added that the hike would be nominal as J&K’s budget has already crossed Rs one lakh crore for the past two years.
Describing around Rs one lakh crore worth budget for Jammu and Kashmir as “quite significant”, sources said this will help in boosting infrastructure development across the Union Territory.