J&K Finance Minister briefs Indian Finance Minister on steps taken to improve State’s financial he

Jammu/New Delhi, March 27 (Scoop News) – J&K  Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather has strongly pleaded to the Centre for a financial support of Rs 7,206 crore- Rs 6,000 crore as annual plan and Rs 1206 crore under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PP) to the State-for the next financial year, besides an aid of Rs 4,200 crore for clearing the arrears of the State Government employees on account of the implementation of the 6th Pay Commission.

            In an hour long meeting with the Indian Union Finance Minister,  Pranab Mukherjee,in New Delhi,  Rather also sought release to the State of balance amount of Rs 1,300 crore, outstanding on account of the current year’s annual plan.

             Rather discussed with  Pranab Mukherjee the next year’s annual plan for the State, funding for various Centrally Sponsored Schemes and steps being taken to improve the financial health of the State by ensuring effective revenue mobilization etc.

            The Finance Minister called for releasing Rs 2,372 crore central share for the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, as the State would be allocating its matching share of Rs 721 crore. Last year, the Centre had provided Rs 1800 crore on this account, as against the State’s matching share of Rs 643 crore, he added.

             Rather referred to the steps taken by the State Government, on the suggestion of the Planning Commission, to have a third party monitoring of Rs 1200 crore worth 145 projects across Jammu and Kashmir, by reputed agencies like NABCOM and Mckensey. “This is for the first time that such a mechanism has been adopted,” the Minister said, exuding confidence that it will enhance the monitoring and evaluation of various schemes, improve the delivery system and help expeditious completion of various projects.

            On revenue mobilization,  Rather briefed the Union Finance Minister about the measures taken during the just concluding financial year which include austerity measures to reduce non-plan expenditure, imposition of various levies on VAT, Toll Tax etc proposed in the budget etc. He said the State has registered 17 per cent increase in VAT, which is likely to go up to 26 per cent next year, highest in the country. He also referred to the steps taken for reducing deficit in the power sector and said that a legislation is being been brought in the current budget session for effecting various reforms in the sector. He said efforts would be redoubled to better the revenue realization on account of power tariff. Against Rs 630 crore recovered during the last financial year, he said a target of Rs 1003 core has been fixed for the current fiscal.

            Emphatically pleading for a special dispensation of Rs 4,200 crores, in the shape of aid, to the State for defraying the arrears due to the State Government employees on account of 6th Pay Commission,  Rather said that the assistance could even be made available on annual installment basis. He said the State Government had no resources to meet this whopping expenditure.

            The meeting of  Rather with the Union Finance Minister was preceded by a meeting of the high level State official delegation with the Planning Commission team, presided over by the Member, Planning Commission,  B K Chaturvedi.  The meeting discussed in detail the next year’s annual plan besides funding under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

            The State Government team comprised, Chief Secretary  S S Kapur, Economic Advisor to the State Government,  Jalil Ahmed Khan, Commissioner Secretary Finance,  Sudhanshu Pandey and Commissioner Secretary Planning,  B B Vyas.