Legislative Council: In unison, legislators demand hike in CDF

Legislative Council: In unison, legislators demand  hike in CDF

Seek flexibility in guidelines, oppositions walks out
JAMMU: Legislators from both the ruling as well as opposition parties stood up in protest in the Legislative Council on Tuesday demanding enhancement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from existing Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 3 crore.
Cutting across party lines, the legislators unanimously demanded the hike and complained that under the present system, they were not able to contribute for betterment in any sector, because of “flawed guidelines.” Intervening on the issue, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu informed the House that the guidelines would be eased, and assured to bring in maximum flexibility for using the CDF.
Stating that every constituency had its unique problems and different developmental needs Drabu said the guidelines have to be fixed as per the requirements in a particular constituency.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who also holds the charge of Planning & Development Department, informed the House that the government has kept certain funds at the disposal of deputy commissioners as untied grants for meeting out some exigent or additional requirements in their respective districts.
Intervening during the Question Hour, the chief minister said that the untied amount would be used by the deputy commissioners for meeting some critical gaps in development expenditure by way of adding any facility or supplementing any existing service. She said these funds would be operated by the deputy commissioners on the advice of public representatives including legislators, and common people.
She said the step has been taken to empower people at the grassroot level and to ensure speedy  completion of developmental works besides seeking active participation of people in the developmental process of the state.
Dissatisfied with CM’s reply, legislators from National Conference and Congress walked out from the House and raised slogans against government for not considering their demand.
Earlier, aiming for support from all legislators of the Council, NC MLC Sajjad Kichloo urged the Chief Minister and Finance Minister to set up an expert committee with legislators and officials from Finance department as its members to take a call on the issue.