Amit Shah to present J&K’s budget in Parliament

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Amit Shah
Amit Shah

JAMMU — Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday will present the budget of Jammu and Kashmir in both houses of Parliament.

The parliament session will resume on March 2 and this will be the first budget of Jammu and Kashmir post the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two Union territories.

“The budget has to be approved by the Parliament before March 31 for the next financial year of 2020-21 beginning April 01,” sources said.

The annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir for the current financial year of 2019-20 was approved by the then State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by then-Governor Satya Pal Malik in December 2018 when the State was under the Governor’s Rule.

Sources added that though next year’s budget will be passed in the second week of March i.e., a delay of about three months as compared to this year, the Finance Department was fully prepared to manage things and release funds to various Heads immediately after getting a nod from the Union Government.

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“Exercise is on and it will hardly make any difference even if the budget gets the Parliament nod in March,” sources said.

For the first time, they said, an annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir was set to cross the figure of Rs one lakh crore and could be around Rs 1.2 lakh crore, which will be sufficient enough as Ladakh, the third region of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, has been separated and made a new Union Territory.

Ladakh will have separate budget-cum-funding from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs like other UTs of the country without the Legislature.

As far as the current financial year is concerned, sources said there has been no problem in funding and the release of funds and bills in the treasuries were being cleared expeditiously. Earlier, some problems used to crop up at the fag end of the financial year but this year, the entire system is working smoothly and the flow of cash is as per requirements.

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“Development will be the major focus in the budget 2020-21,” sources said.

They said the Jammu and Kashmir Government, mainly the Finance Department, has completed the entire exercise for the finalization of the budget for the next financial year of 2020-21-both within the Union Territory as well as with the Union Finance Ministry officials.

It may be mentioned here that Dr Haseeb Drabu, the Finance Minister in the previous PDP-BJP coalition government had presented four budgets in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 before the government fell in June 2018 following the withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led government by the BJP.

Since then, the SAC had approved one budget for the financial year of 2019-20 on December 18, 2018 while this will be the second budget of Jammu and Kashmir which will be approved by the Parliament in the next few days.

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