Budget 2016-17

2 mins read

Dr-Haseeb-A-Drabu-in-lower-house-of-JK-Legislature-on-June-Ist-2016The budget 2016-17 which is the first by chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has left many people disappointed. It has not assured the roadmap that the state should adopt to meet with the different challenges, among which the most important being maintaining the momentum of the economy which has been facing a downturn due to the floods. The budget should have ideally stipulated the policy interventions that the government would undertake to spur growth and increase the avenues of employment. But it has not done so. Rather the Finance Minister has sought to distribute the money among the departments without having any yardsticks which could have well be attributed as a measure of better fiscal management policy. There has been a general hike in the devolutions of different departments and overall the capital expenditure has also shot up. But that has got much to do with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s financial package of Rs 80.000 crore than with any resource mobilisation initiatives of the state government.  Drabu it seems has been living in the ivory tower without understanding the challenges that confront the people on the ground. Government’s own estimates show that the number of unemployed youth is over 1 lakh, and no measures or targets have been given to provide gainful employment to the people.  Instead the Finance Minister has imposed heavy taxes which will further reduce the spending capacity of the people. Besides the increase in VAT of different commodities, the government has also increased the toll rate. Rather than increase the tax and even levy the entertainment duty of Rs 50 for each satellite or a cable connection for a month, Finance Minister would have done better by taking tax administration measures to plug the leakages in the payment of the taxes. There has been no such mention in the budget speech.  In the budget Drabu has tried to reiterate the difficulties that the state is facing in different sectors including the power and even the Finance Minister has used a weird analogy of how land dictates the size of the developmental project. The power sector has remained a major drain of the state exchequer and has been responsible for the increasing deficit has also been emphasised by Drabu’s predecessors. But the Finance Minister has not set a time frame by which the power scenario in the state will improve.  Government has shown lack of enthusiasm in turning the PDD into corporate entities to improve the efficiencies and no set norms have also been announced in ensuring the projects in the private-public-partnership mode. Nine sectors have been identified in the state which is being opened for the PPP mode of investment, but the roadmap is lacking to involve the private players in the development of infrastructure here. Although the Finance Minister has termed the budget as a Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s model of governance, but it has been seen that the state government has failed in providing good governance and particularly leverage the modern technology to improve on the service delivery.

Latest from Archives