Budget 2016-17: Government readies for Vote on Account in March

Budget 2016-17: Government readies for Vote on Account in March

JAMMU: The finance department has readied both the Budget as well as Vote on Account (VoA) papers in view of uncertainty over government formation in the state and to avoid financial crisis at the end of financial year 2015-16.
The State Advisory Council will opt for VoA in the second week of March if a civilian government eludes the state.
Chief secretary BR Sharma told Kashmir Reader that the government will first wait for the passage of the Union Budget, which is being presented on February 29. And it will go for VoA if a government is not formed in the state.
Sources in finance department said a `50,000-crore budget has been prepared for 2016-17.
Sharma said governor NN Vohra had asked both him and finance secretary Naveen Choudhary to expedite finalisation of Budget for its timely approval and also keep papers ready for securing a VoA if need arises. The document will be presented before the SAC for approval as and when asked, he added.
About the size of the budget, Sharma said that since the union budget is yet to be presented, the final figures may change depending on the financial provision for J&K in the Union Budget. He reiterated that government will ensure that there is no financial crisis.
“We have to ensure that planning and tendering process kickstarts in right earnest and development activities do not suffer on this count and are insulated from vagaries of nature and short working seasons in some areas,” added Sharma.
Director General (DG) Budget Dr Mohammad Ishaq said that the revised estimates for capital expenditure during 2015-16 have already been released to ensure that the balance funds for salaries and other revenue components are utilised by departments during the next two months.
Vohra had set in motion a similar exercise during his previous stint when PDP and BJP were negotiating the terms of the alliance. However, PDP-BJP coalition government took charge on March 1, 2015 and the then finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu presented the Rs 46,473-crore budget on March 22.
After the death of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on January 7, the PDP-BJP government ceased to exist.
Drabu is learnt to have completed most of the budget preparation in view of the government’s decision to convene the budget session of state legislature from January 18.

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