Key highlights: J&K’s interim budget at Rs 59,364 cr

| Updated: 06 February, 2024 3:26 pm IST

SRINAGAR: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented an interim budget of Rs 59,364 crore for Jammu & Kashmir in the Lok Sabha. The budget estimates for the upcoming fiscal year 2024-25 are anticipated to be Rs 1,18,728 crore, compared to Rs 1,18,500 crore in the current fiscal year. The interim budget is scheduled for debate in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha from February 7 to 9 before receiving parliamentary approval.

The vote-on-account interim budget allocated substantial grants for various sectors, including tourism, Kashmiri Pandits, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), power projects, establishment of new colleges/universities, women empowerment, including the Ladli Beti Scheme, Industrial Estates, and the construction of new houses under the PM Awas Yojana.

The budget emphasized nine key areas, encompassing good governance, reinforcing grassroots democracy, fostering holistic and sustainable agriculture, positioning Jammu and Kashmir as an investment hub, generating employment, cultivating new tourism destinations, expediting development and inclusive growth, promoting women’s empowerment, and enhancing social inclusion.

While talking to The New Indian, Javed Tenga, President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, expressed, “There weren’t high expectations from this budget, considering it is an interim arrangement until a new government is formed at the Centre.”

 

He further said, “However, we would have loved to see it offering special emphasis on Jammu and Kashmir, increasing import duty on foreign apples to boost sales of local produce, promotion of the handicraft sector, etc. Though the budget has laid focus on the promotion of tourism, which is a good sign, and the enhancement in demand for grants is also a welcome move.”

Tenga added, “The trade community in Kashmir has higher expectations from the upcoming J&K Budget, anticipated to be presented during the ongoing parliamentary session.”

The budget suggested an allotment of Rs 1,284.45 crore for security-related activities in 2024-25 and Rs 2,029.95 crore for agriculture and allied sectors, marking a Rs 500.89 crore increase from the revised allocation of 2023-24. The rural sector received Rs 3,730 crore for capital expenditure in the upcoming financial year. The tourism sector was granted Rs 357.70 crore, an increment of Rs 103.95 crore from the current fiscal year. Health and Medical Education were allocated Rs 1,427.61 crore. The School and Higher Education sector received Rs 1,300.10 crore for 2024-25, a rise of Rs 201.32 crore from the current year. An allocation of Rs 1,067.61 crore has been designated for the relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, reflecting an increase of Rs 134.68 crore. The Power sector obtained Rs 1,875 crore for capital expenditure, marking a substantial increase of Rs 552.61 crore. The Jal Shakti Department was granted a significant Rs 5,038.74 crore. The Housing and Urban Development Department secured Rs 2,329.55 crore, while Roads and Bridges were allocated Rs 4,108.87 crore. Industries and Commerce received Rs 529.62 crore.

The interim budget became necessary due to the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May. The full budget for the Union Territory will be presented by the upcoming Government in June-July. Since 2020, J&K’s budgets have been presented in Parliament following the region’s transition into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh—on August 5, 2019, after being under President and Governor’s Rule from June 2018.

Parliament approval has been sought for Rs 75,932 crore, with Rs 16,568 crore for Ways and Means advances. The net expenditure, excluding advances, is approximately Rs 59,364 crore—comprising Rs 19,283 crore for capital and Rs 40,081 crore for revenue expenditure. Sitharaman presented supplementary grants for the 2023-24 fiscal year, highlighting the revised estimates of Rs 1,08,197 crore (original budget: Rs 1,18,500 crore). Anticipated revenue receipts are Rs 84,603 crore, and capital receipts are Rs 23,594 crore. Estimated revenue expenditure is Rs 76,155 crore, and capital expenditure is Rs 32,042 crore.

The complete budget for the Union Territory will be presented after the 2024 general elections, with an estimated value of Rs 1,18,728 crore, excluding provisions for Ways and Means advances.

Jammu and Kashmir will allocate Rs 12,580 crore for revenue and Rs 1,361 crore for capital in the Administrative sector. In the Social sector, there will be Rs 24,599 crore for Revenue expenditure and Rs 3,779 crore for Capital expenditure. On the economic front, the UT plans Rs 5,306 crore for revenue and Rs 6,853 crore for capital expenditure. In the Infrastructure sector, J&K has allocated Rs 12,675 crore for revenue and Rs 13,511 crore for capital expenditure.

The budget will allocate Rs 450 crore for new Colleges and Universities infrastructure under NEP. It includes Rs 400 crore for Kashmiri Pandit transit accommodations, Rs 400 crore for Industrial Estates, and Rs 430 crore for Ladli Beti and Marriage Assistance Scheme. Additionally, Rs 272 crore is allocated for DDCs/BDCs, Rs 100 crore for World Bank’s Flood Recovery Project, Rs 660 crore for hydroelectric projects, Rs 80 crore for DDC/BDC/PRI facilities and security, and Rs 91 crore for new tourism destinations, circuits, Sufi circuits, religious circuits, ropeways, highway resting places, and Golf promotion.

The budget discloses that Jammu and Kashmir pinpointed 75 off-beat destinations for global, national, and local promotion. Basic amenities funding is allocated for 10 destinations in Jammu and Kashmir divisions. Furthermore, 75 heritage sites are identified, and a special scheme is initiated for the revival, restoration, preservation, and maintenance of architecture and heritage.

Budget documents disclose J&K Government has received investment proposals of Rs 90,182 crore, with grounded investments totalling Rs 5,319 crore since 2019-20.

HIGHLIGHTS :
*Rs 2959 cr for tap-water connectivity for rural areas.
*Rs 1907 cr for school education infrastructure and services.
*Provision of improving road connectivity with Rs 1683 cr for PMGSY roads.
*Rs 1313 cr for strengthening decentralized governance by providing for local area works of Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies.
*Rs 1093 cr for rural housing under PM AwasYojana-Grameen scheme.
*Rs 1000 cr for the old-aged, widows and disabled pensioners.
*Rs 660 cr for J&K’s equity for the hydroelectric projects at Ratle, Kwar, and Kiru.
*Rs 500 cr for capitalization of the banks, including Cooperative Banks, Rural Banks, J&K Bank, etc.
*Rs 370 cr under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) scheme.
*Rs 390 cr for Flood Management Project of River Jhelum.
*Rs 450 cr for GST reimbursement to ensure timely reimbursement of the claims.
*Rs 272 cr for DDC/BDC grants improving local governance at district and block levels.
*Rs 174 cr for the development of model schools under the PM-Shri scheme.
*Rs 140 cr for creation of sports infrastructure
*Rs 100 cr for the conclusion of the World Bank-funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project.
*Rs 100 cr for Mission Youth programmes for education, skilling, and employment.
*Rs 100 cr for heritage preservation,
*Rs 91 cr for new tourism destinations, new circuits, Sufi circuit and identified religious circuits, ropeways, highway resting places and promotion of Golf.
*Rs 70 cr for the development of new Townships and affordable housing and Rs 50 cr for Dal development.
*Rs 40 cr for tourism promotion, Rs 15 cr for the festival promotion and for the promotion of cinema/theatre.
*Rs 80 cr for establishment of DDC/BDC/PRI accommodation and offices as well as for security arrangements of DDC/BDC/PRI representatives.
*Rs 59 cr for construction of Police Housing colony and relief and rehabilitation
*Rs 45 cr for construction of bunkers, digitization and CCTVs in Police Stations
*Rs 30 cr for improving Quality in Schools, School Infrastructure, Career Counseling and for the introduction of additional Streams in Schools.
*Rs 5 cr for replacement of old fleet in transport sector.

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