The Budget 2023-24 for Jammu and Kashmir is yet another major initiative towards rapid growth and welfare of common man in the Union Territory. This reflects commitment of the government to ensure holistic and inclusive development besides implementation of welfare programmes and execution of various schemes for all segments of the society.
Allocation of Rs 35,581.44 crore in the Union Budget for J&K, as announced by Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, will accelerate the growth of the Union Territory.
Appreciably, the Central grants in the Revised Estimates for ongoing financial year of 2022-23 have been hiked by about Rs 9000 crore and were now pegged at Rs 44538.13 crore.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration will spend the amount for mitigation of natural disasters, to meet the expenditure incurred on account of permanent restoration of infrastructure which was damaged due to 2014 floods, rehabilitation, preservation and restoration of Dal-Nageen lake in Srinagar.
The Power projects in Jammu and Kashmir have been sanctioned significant funds for expediting construction work while there has been provision for industrial development in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh in the annual budget.
Out of Rs 35581.44 crore worth grants, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed Rs 130 crore (Revenue) for equity contribution for 624 MW Kiru Hydro Electric Project (HEP), Rs 476.44 crore Revenue grants towards equity for 800 MW Ratle HEP, Rs 500 crore Revenue grant on account of Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project and Rs 171.23 crore Revenue grants for equity contribution of 540 MW KWR HEP.
Other grants to Jammu and Kashmir from the total fund included Rs 33923 crore as Central Assistant to the UT and Rs 279 crore for Disaster Response Fund.
The Ministry of Defence has proposed Rs 1797.74 crore for Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry.
Likewise, Rs 600 crore have also been allotted for the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which also benefit Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as both the UTs have large number of border villages.
The budget has also kept an amount of Rs 301.61 crore for relief and rehabilitation for migrants and repatriates, Rs 5 crore for Ladakh and Rs 11 crore for J&K and Himachal Pradesh for helicopter services.
“The provision is for subsidized helicopter services in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to provide connectivity to remote areas,” the budget document said.
The budget had special mention of enhancement of sports facilities in Jammu and Kashmir saying the sector is an important tool towards promotion of peace and prosperity. “Sports infrastructure and sports facilities in Jammu and Kashmir will be upgraded and developed with all requisite facilities,” the budget document said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, has expressed gratitude to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first budget of Amrit Kaal that will put the country on a faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth path to achieve the goal of 5 Trillion Dollar economy.
In the words of LG “ Vision for Amrit Kaal-opportunities for citizens with focus on youth, growth and job creation, strong and stable macro-economic environment and priorities to farmers, women, marginalized sections, middle class and infrastructure will put the economy to its optimum growth path”.
He maintained that increased investment on infrastructure and employment generation, green growth, agriculture accelerator fund, targeted funding for animal husbandry and Atmanirbhar Bharat Horticulture Clean Plant Programme and tourism promotion will have a force multiplier impact on UT’s economy.
“Rapid growth and welfare of Aam Aadmi is at the centre of Budget 2023-24. Grateful to the Finance Minister and Prime Minister for accelerating the tempo of growth in Handloom and Handicraft sector through PM VIKAS. It will greatly benefit lakhs of artisans of J&K,” LG asserted.