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Drabu presented Rs 76335 Cr annual budget for 2017-18, announce 7th pay commission for employees from April 2018
Revenue deficit witness Rs 1018 Cr, raises to 11849 Cr in 2017-18, SRE to touch Rs. 48819 Cr
1/12/2017 12:05:42 PM

Asif Iqbal Naik
Jammu Jan 11: State Finance Minster and renowned economist Dr. Haseeb Drabu today presented its 3rd budget for the financial year 2017-18 with an annual outlay plan of Rs. 76335 crore which include Revenue Receipts of Rs. 58168 crore of which State own Tax Revenue estimated has been estimated at Rs. 9931 crore, beside there will be a share of Rs. 9711 Cr out of Central Taxes as against figure of Rs. 9500 crore in Revised Estimates 2016-17 which is minimal increase of Rs. 211 Cr against the last year.
The state’s Revenue deficit this financial year will also witness Rs 1018 Cr increase and has raises to 11849 Cr in 2017-18 as against Rs. 10831 crore in 2016-17.
The state Capital Receipts will Rs. 18167 crore while total expenditure has been estimated as Rs. 79472 crore which include Revenue Expenditure (RE) including Security Related Expenditure (SRE) expected to touch Rs. 48819 crore.
The finance Minister said that Capital Expenditure commonly known as CAPEX has been accounts for Rs. 30653 crore of which Rs. 3955 crore for State Sector Schemes, Rs. 1037 crore allocation for District Sector Capital Expenditure, Rs. 10000 crore under Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Rs. 8500 crore under Prime Ministers Development Program called as TAMEIR, Rs. 933 crore to be devolved to PRIs and ULBs under 14th FC grants, Outgo on pension including leave encashment and NPS during the year 2017-18 at Rs. 5000 crore, there will be provision of Rs. 25 crore for meeting cost of VRS/GHS in PSUs.
He said that the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at current prices will be Rs. 151916 crore, which would be equivalent to 14.9 % growth at current prices over the previous year.
He said that Tax Revenue and Non-Tax Revenue has been estimated at Rs. 25050 crore which is higher by Rs. 1884 crore over against the revised target of Rs. 23166 crore
He said that the Tax revenue expected to grow by around 17 % over the current years added that the budget structure will be given a developmental orientation rather than a purely administrative orientation.
He said that this year budget will be move from the traditional Public Administrative Budgeting to a modern Public Management Approach added that Budget Estimation, Allocation and Monitoring System” (BEAMS), will make online computerized system to distribute the budget and to authorize expenditure which will ultimately help to replace Treasury System with a functionally aligned Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) System. He said that all this will help in Budget control mechanism of audit and invoice checking strengthened at the department level and Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) for online bill processing. He said that Finance Department and the Planning, Development & Monitoring Department will release 50 per cent of the revenue and Capex budget by 10th February, 2017 while authorizing expenditure is to be made from 1st April, 2017.
He said that the administrative departments/HODs/ executing agencies will have to complete procurement and tendering process by 15th May, 2017 which will help for balance Sheet management of corporations and in "recall and re-infuse” of all the plan funds given so far to all these corporations to shore up the capital base. He said that J&K SPDC will become a debt - free company with an equity base of Rs. 3,000 crore and also announce Equity infusion of Rs. 532 crore to J&K Bank in two tranches for capital adequacy and growth financing.
He said that J&K Asset Reconstruction Company in partnership with the J&K Bank will be set up and the State Government is a majority shareholder in this, while J&K bank holds 49 per cent share in it. He said a comprehensive insurance scheme for nine crops including paddy, wheat, maize, apple, mango, saffron, pulses, and oil seeds against damages from most of the natural disasters including hail, floods, draught etc will also be introduced beside there will be insurance of public assets and Government vehicles which include Cultural; Assets like Arte facts, rare manuscripts, paintings to be insured, Social security net for welfare of the working class. He said that for Construction and other Workers, cash credit facility up to Rs. 10,000, accidental insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lac, life insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lac, health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000, with premiums being paid by the Board on behalf of the workers. He said that the introduction of Manpower Audit for all levels will help to suggest manpower rationalization beside there will be revision of all Recruitment Rules within one Financial Year to synchronize job requirements with commensurate educational requirement.
Much to the delight of over 5 lac state employees, Finance Minister announce implementation of 7th Pay Commission for Government employees in cash from 1st April, 2018, beside there will be insurance cover which will be provided to all the serving employees of all categories in Government for a period of five years. Further, it will be made optional for pensioners up to a cover of Rs. 6 lacs for the full family unit.
Dr. Drabu said that there will be inventory management of land buildings, Machinery and Equipment, beside convergence of all student scholarship schemes and Delinking of disbursement of salary from the source of funding of salary.
He also announce regularization on contractual basis of all those who have given their land to state Government, Change of nomenclature of Government employees at lower levels, Change of class categorization, Interest subvention scheme for public transport vehicle owners, Comprehension policy to protect conversion of land, Setting up of one Zoo each in Kashmir and Jammu, Creation of E-Commerce platform to link 20,000 artisans and weavers, 50% interest subvention for setting up of modern walnut processing units, Provision of Rs. 5.00 crore to establish CFC at lassipora, 50% interest subvention in bank loans to new tannery units, Rs. 2.00 crores for fur artisans rehabilitation, Creation of land compensation fund at the level of Deputy Commissioner, Setting up of “Airwaan-e-Sahaafat”, a Kashmir press centre, All Terrain Mountain Bike” scheme for boys with a provision of Rs. 3.00 crore, Institute a football league and allocation of Rs. 2.00 crore and setting up of “Shamas Faqeer Institute of Sufi and Folk Music” with an initial provision of Rs. 5.00 crore. He under major tax proposal called for Extension of tax incentives for 2017-18, incandescent bulbs to be placed in negative list, to make major check posts cashless, the J&K Passenger Tax Act 1963 will be administered by the Transport Department and increase in advertisement tariffs for media houses.
He said that his first budget of the present Government, focused on macro-budgetary matters wherein the fiscal strategy was outlined; in the second one, attention was paid to distributive issues pertaining to allocative efficiency added that in this budget, the third one, governemnt focus is on the micro-budgetary reform: operations of Government programs and agencies and said that this budget is devoted to improving the operational efficiency of spending. He said that the propose to reorganise the 29 departmental demands for grants into four major sectoral categories viz Administrative, Infrastructure Development, Social Sector and Economic Development. Within each category, the demand for grants for each department will be presented. This year we have made a small beginning by just arranging the demands for grants along these lines. He said that these reforms will also go a long way in making budgeting understandable and meaningful for the political executive and legislators; and relevant for the people.
Finance Minister said that the administrative departments/HODs/ executing agencies will immediately set in motion the procurement and tendering process which should be completed latest by 15th May, 2017. He said this means all budgeted works must be allotted and supply orders issued or procurements made by the specified timeline added that beyond 15th May, 2017, any work or supply orders can be issued only after the permission of Finance Department for which the concerned department will have to submit valid and satisfactory reasons for the delay.
He said for 2018-19, only those works will be made a part of the capital outlay and the annual budget for which the required DPR or Project Report is completed and other necessary sanctions have been obtained. Preference will be given to projects which will be completed within a span of 3 years, except, of course, the mega projects like hydropower projects or large connectivity projects.

He said more efficient and transparent way would be to converge wherein all government schemes will run under one umbrella and make it Aadhaar-linked so that no duplication occurs. He said that all this would ensure that the effort is focused fully on targeting and reaching the deserving and marginalized groups. He said that a

He said that government is going to provide specially designed micro-credit ATM cards to all the registered construction workers with the following features which include Cash Credit facility up to Rs. 10,000 at one year MCLR to every registered construction worker, In-built accidental insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lakh through Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana at a premium of Rs. 12 per annum, In-built life insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lakh through Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana at a premium of Rs. 330 per year, In-built health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 through Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana at a premium of Rs. 30 per annum. All the three premiums will be paid by the Board on behalf of the workers and Facility of withdrawal of cash through Bank’s Business Correspondents/Khidmat Centres post biometric verification.

He said that unemployment is a social issue of serious magnitude in the state added that even as the rate of unemployment is supposed to be very high in the state, the government do not have actual figures for unemployment in the state. He said that ss of now, there are 27 employment schemes being implemented in the state out of which 12 schemes have 100 per cent funding from Government of India and 6 schemes are funded upto the extent of 90 per cent. He said that the State Government has its own 9 self-employment schemes being implemented by various Government Departments. He said that the Employment Department, having abundant human resources and huge infrastructure in almost all the districts of the state, is currently not running any employment scheme. He said that there is an institutional network available in the state in the form of ITIs, RSETIs, J&K EDI, J&K CDI etc which if leveraged properly can help address the problem of unemployment to a large extent.

He said that there are a lot of people working for the State Government whose salaries come from the Union Government through centrally sponsored schemes. Be it the SSA and RMSA teachers, anganwadi workers, or those engaged under the National Health Mission. Their salaries are not paid on time. More often than not, they don't get it for months on end. The reason for this is that their salary is linked to the release of funds from Central Government which may get delayed for a variety of reasons ranging from our own lax compliance to the resource constraints of the Central Government.

He said that Government inherited an estimated 61,000 casual, seasonal, ad hoc, temporary, NYCs and various other categories of persons engaged in various departments without proper authorization. While the previous Government engaged them without thinking about source of wages or remuneration for them, the present Government treats this problem as a social issue which needs to be addressed.

He said that given the resource position, he had a choice to make: either implement the 7th Pay Commission or regularize, in some manner, the estimated 61,000 casual and other workers who have been on the fringes from 10 to 20 years. He said that on grounds of economic and financial logic both have competing claims. Yet on social and moral grounds the case of the casual workers is a much more compelling and a heart rending one.

He further said that in the course of the next financial year, I intend to start the process of regularization of the casual workers of various categories subject to a set of guidelines and objective criteria. However, as an indicator of my intent, I am announcing the regularization, on a contractual basis, of all those who have given their land to the State Government on the promise of a Government job and have been left out so far. They will have to go through a process of documentation and verification which will be done by the General Administration Department.

He said that for the remaining categories, a Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary is currently busy in formulation of various options to deal with the issue. During the course of the year, the Government will set out a policy with timelines for absorbing these people.

“Needless to say that the prevalent guidelines for regularization or bringing them into a contractual ambit will not be diluted” said Dr. Drabu.

He said that the implementation of 7th Pay Commission for Government employees from 1st April, 2018. The revised salary and DA will be paid to the employees from 30th April, 2018. Detailed modalities in this regard will be issued by Finance Department in due course of time.

“Meanwhile, in the run up to the 7th Pay Commission implementation, I will address the pay anomalies of employees which have remained unaddressed. To do the basic groundwork for it, I am appointing a group of knowledgeable professionals in the services matters to make recommendations to the committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary” said Dr. Drabu.
He said that the Recruitment Rules for Government Servants at all levels need urgent revision as most of them were framed several decades back and have lost relevance in the context of today’s youth’s educational attainment, as well as emerging job requirements.
“I announce the intention of the Government to a complete revision of all Recruitment Rules within one financial year so as to synchronize job requirements with commensurate educational qualifications” said Dr. Drabu.
He said that the conversion of Agricultural land for various purposes is a huge concern. The Government will bring a comprehensive policy, and if need arises, a legislation to prevent and effectively ban conversion of agriculture land, irrigated land and land under saffron, vegetables and paddy.
He said that the Government will create an e-Commerce platform to link 20000 artisans and weavers of the State for direct online sale of their products. The target is to increase the exports of Handicrafts and Handloom Products from the current level by Rs. 1000 crore annually besides serving the prime objective of minimizing the exploitation of the multiple layers of middleman-ship.

As a part of Tax proposal, Dr. Drabu said that this year shall see a major change in the national indirect tax regime in terms of a move towards a uniform Goods and Services Tax. He said that the Constitutional Amendment, which does not apply to J&K, has been passed by the Parliament and there is time till September, 2017 to roll out the proposed GST. He said that for J&K, the proposed GST law is not applicable to J&K.

He said that there will be exemption on the Commodities like, Paddy, Rice, Wheat, Pulses, Flour, Atta, Maida, Suji and Besan which are consumed by the masses particularly by weaker sections, VAT remission to the local industry is proposed in order to give them competitive edge in the open market, The Central Sales Tax (CST) concession, Existing incentives till 31-03-2018 on raw materials to registered industrial units under J&K Levy of Tolls Act, The exemption from tax on lodging services provided by Hotels, Lodges and Guest Houses.

To encourage the use of low electricity consuming devices, incandescent Bulbs are proposed to be kept under schedule D-II at 40% rate tax category. In addition to the above, manufacturing of incandescent bulbs shall be kept in the negative list of industries.

He said that government proposes that in case of sale of Air Conditioners and Refrigerators a scheme of post sale incentives shall be introduced wherein an amount equivalent to 25 per cent of the tax paid on such appliances shall be reimbursed to such consumers purchasing specified 5 star rated electrical appliances respectively, against production of valid VAT invoice.

With a view to harness solar energy and discourage the use of non-renewable energy sources, the solar equipments/plants have been placed in zero rated category under J&K Vat Act 2005. To curb practice of wrong declaration and tax evasion on Tarpaulin cloth and Canvas cloth, it is proposed that these commodities be taxed at 14.5 per cent along with Cotton Coated Fabric. Fresh fruit item were kept in the negative list of notification SRO granting Toll exemption to industrial raw material.

All tobacco products are taxed at 40 per cent. However, raw tobacco is placed in the zero per cent tax slab. In order to remove this anomaly and to avoid tax evasion, it is proposed that raw tobacco be also placed in D-II schedule of SRO 167 of the J&K VAT Act, 2005 and taxed at 40 per cent at par with other tobacco products. The government also proposed to be brought under the tax net with a view to enhance the tax base and plug tax evasion include Body Building on Trucks, Buses and Other Vehicles, Installation/erection of Prefabricated Structures and 5% tax on Ready to Stitch and Semi Stitched garments.

As a part of rationalize measures that benefit of SRO-328 dated 06.10.2016 providing concessional rate of tax in case of Vehicles sold through CSD canteens has been extended to Widows of Ex-Serviceman and the benefit of this scheme may not be extended to paramilitary forces as they do not possess Canteen Smart Cards.

Zero percent tax rates on Index File Clips and Files of all kinds beside Buns, Foot Longs and Pizza Breads are forms of bread had also been placed in Zero per cent tax category. All medicines are at present taxed at 5 per cent, however tonics, food supplements, appetizers, dietician foods etc. are taxed at 14.5 per cent and all such products are now proposed to be placed in 5 per cent tax category. The upper limit for Turnover Tax dealers is raised from present Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh. In order to promote digital payments, the governemnt propose to make major check-posts cashless by introduction of alternative methods for making payments by 1st of April 2017. The rate of Toll on dressed/frozen chicken will be at par, beside Edible oil Ghee will also remain at par. The rate of toll on the import of Walnuts, Almonds, Dry Apricot and Saffron has been increased from Rs. 80 per quintal to Rs. 235 per quintal along with fish. The Jammu and Kashmir Passenger Tax Act, 1963 shall henceforth, be administered by the Transport Department.

As a part of relief majors, the toll/commercial tax check post two posts at Lakhanpur shall be made effectively functional round the clock for clearance of raw materials and other machinery/spares of the industrial units of the state with immediate effect.
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