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news details
Where is Rs 80000 crore reconstruction Package?
Economy Survey silent
1/11/2017 11:29:31 PM
Syed Junaid Hashmi
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Jan 11: Economic Survey for the year 2016 is completely silent about the much touted and talked about Rs. 80000 crore reconstruction plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for development and reconstruction of infrastructure of Jammu and Kashmir.
The economic survey was tabled by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on January 10, 2017 in both the houses of the legislature. It makes a mention of announcement of the package by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 7, 2015 at Page no. 224 of the Economic Survey and goes on to say that this additional financial assistance will go a long way in addressing the challenge of rebuilding the state's economy. Nothing else has been said in the economic survey about the package.
State government has maintained complete silence. The package is yet to be unveiled. It has not even talked about the follow-up which both the central and the state government have done on the announcement made by the Prime Minister. It seems as if even the state government is in doubt whether the package would be released by the central government or not. The page of the Economic Survey where the Prime Minister's Development Package has been discussed talks about everything but reveals nothing.
In the developmental package column, it seems state government has virtually pleaded with the central government for releasing the Rs. 80000 crore package. State has said that after the replacement of Planning Commission by NITI Aayog and the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) award, the structure of state's finances has undergone major changes whereby special windows of finance to Jammu and Kashmir such as the Special Plan Assistance (SPA) and the Special Central Assistance (SCA) have been closed.
Despite the increase of 10 percent central devolution under the FFC Award, the state government still suffers from a negative BCR mainly on account of a very high level of revenue expenditure on establishment, including the state police, and other security related expenditure. The burden of such a deficit hampers the availability of resources for development.
State government has pleaded that it faces is the issue relating to negative perceptions about the state which adversely impact tourism efforts and lead to fall in investment flows into the economy. It has added that situated at the extreme end of the country, and being a mountainous state with a very small population base, J&K has serious locational disadvantage in terms of high input cost and lack of market access. Many areas of the state remain snow bound for as long as six months.
Economic Survey for year 2016 is silent about the Rs.80000 crore economic package. State government has virtually pleaded with central government for releasing this package at Page no.224 of the Economic Survey. No road-map but just a long plea.
State has further said that prevailing security environment and misperceptions regarding the existing situation also lead to dampening of investor sentiment. In the circumstances, despite emphasis being laid on Public Private Partnership (PPP), it will not be incorrect to expect very limited private sector investment in the state. Therefore, public investment has to lead economic growth atleast in key infrastructure areas: with private sector investment "piggy backing" upon such heavy doses of public investment.
State has further said that the power to enter into international treaties and agreements rests with the union government. It has added that at times, such treaties/agreements adversely affect the rights and obligations of states and puts upon them unnecessary and avoidable financial burden. Citing an example, it has said that J&K continues to be put to untold hardships and disadvantages on account of the discriminatory provisions contained in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
It has pleaded with union government that such constraints do restrict the flexibility on the part of the state government to fully exploit the available natural resources.
An analysis of the resource profile for development indicates that the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) account for a major part of the capital expenditure budget (Capex). Significant resources are also committed towards meeting the required state share for accessing central funds under the CSS and for putting in counterpart share for World Bank/ADB funded projects and now the Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP).
State government has said that it is left with little flexibility to initiate its own development programmes and/or to meet contingent and unforeseen requirements in view of non-availability of free or untied resources. Another very significant challenge is the differential cost of delivery of public services across difficult and remote areas. The cost of delivery varies from area to area having different topography. By way of an example, the cost of construction of a road in Ladakh is much higher than the one being constructed in Jammu City or Srinagar City.
State government has accepted that it faces severe capacity deficit in matters like preparation of DPR and management of mega projects besides requisite technical and domain expertise and modern equipment is also not available. It has then concluded that reconstruction plan of Rs. 80,000 crore for development and reconstruction of our infrastructure. This additional financial assistance will go a long way in addressing the challenge of rebuilding the State's economy.
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