Budget or vote on account? Cash-strapped J&K wonders

Faced with the problem of cash crunch,NC will take the views of its ally Congress in the state on whether to present a full budget or to go for vote on account in the state

Written by Ishfaq Naseem | Jammu | Published: February 19, 2009 10:06 am

Faced with the problem of cash crunch,National Conference will take the views of its ally Congress in the state on whether to present a full budget or to go for vote on account in the state to meet the expenditure during the next fiscal year.

Sources said that although officials were in favour of a vote on account instead of a full budget,however the government will take a decision on it in the cabinet meeting which is in Jammu on Thursday.

J-K Finance Minister,A R Rather,said,“The decision will only be taken by the cabinet.” He however said that the state’s finances were dismal. “We have a bills amounting to Rs 500 crore pending in the treasuries,” he said.

Among Jammu and Kashmir’s most pressing problems this time is to arrange the money for the implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations with the employees holding the government to ransom before the Lok Sabha polls,by resorting to strike. Although the Finance Minister committed to the striking employees in Jammu on Wednesday that the sixth pay commission recommendations will be implemented in the state from August this year,however the state was not still clear from where it will arrange the finances to implement the demand which requires an annual expenditure of Rs 1700 crore and a retrospective expenditure of Rs 3800 crore to give it an effect from January 2006.

The Finance Minister however said that the state will be able to arrange the finances from the Centre and it is to hold a meeting with the Planning Commission to arrange for the resources for meeting its expenditure. However sources said that with the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in April this year making it difficult for the state to receive a committed expenditure from the Centre,the state was likely to go for vote on account to meet a part of its expenditure and later a full budget will be presented in the assembly session in Srinagar.

However Finance Minister said,“Even when I was in opposition,I have been saying that the UPA government was generous in giving the assistance to the state. We hope that more of assistance will come from the Centre.”

While officials said that they will depend on the Centre again to meet their financial requirements,they are particularly disappointed over the recoveries made in the power sector. The targets in the sector have not been fully met. As per an estimate of the near Rs 1000 crore target in the sector,not even half of the recovery has been made. “Internal resource mobilisation was not satisfactory in the state,” officials add.

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