Riyaz ul Khaliq
Jammu: J&K finance minister, Haseeb A Drabu, on Thursday presented his fourth budget in J&K legislative Assembly.
Drabu came to the house around 11:55 am and started his budget speech at around 12:05 pm.
The finance minister is likely to allot special allocations for the upcoming Panchayat Elections proposed to be held in February this year.
All the members were present in the house as Drabu presented the budget. Last time, the opposition had boycotted the budget speech of Drabu.
In his speech, Drabu said unlike past, the government will be releasing all the money by year end – December.
The current budget will be a bit different following GST implementation in state in July 2016 which affects the revenue generation part.
“Let me assert, this budget is, so far, most transparent technically,” he told the house. He added that the treasuries will be closed which will be replaced by Pay and Accounts Office system in future. “We have to eliminate the opportunity and scope to eliminate the corruption,” he said.
Drabu praised the J&K State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC). “It will grow and compete with J&K Bank,” he claimed.
The finance minister pressed for brining professionalism in the government run corporations. “I am relinquishing the position in state finance corporation to take the lead,” he said asking his colleagues to do the same in different corporations.
“Our government is committed for implementation of 7th pay commission from Ist of April 2018,” he said while announcing release of 1% DA in favour of government employees from July 2017.
“All government employees including pensioners along with their 5 family members each will be covered under insurance scheme,” he announced.
He said that to ensure delivery of services in far off places, the government shall incentivise the postings in such places. “Every government official wants a positing in Srinagar or Jammu,” he rued.
He also announced that SGST rates will be brought down on a few items.
“I have decided to treat hotels and restaurants at par with industries in power tariff,” he said declaring that the hotels and restaurants will pay the new power tariff from Ist April 2018.
He said that besides the floods of 2014, the “2016 unrest affected the loans”.