This is the most significant budget I have presented, says Drabu
By sourav kalyan On 12 Jan, 2018 At 12:19 PM | Categorized As J&K | With 0 Comments

Drabu presented Rs 80313 crore budget for 2018-19, focusing on social empowerment of different stakeholders.

Describing the budget presented by him on Thursday as “most significant and an all-stakeholders’ budget”, the finance minister Haseeb Drabu on Thursday said that the financial statement “would change the whole narrative in the state.”

“This would not only lead to economic recovery but would also trigger a political recovery,” Drabu told reporters at Jammu convention centre after presenting the budget in the assembly.

Drabu presented Rs 80313 crore budget for 2018-19, focusing on social empowerment of different stakeholders.

“This is conscientious and hearty budget,” he said, adding that “this is not a numerical strength but a social intervention. This is the most significant budget I have presented.”

Drabu, who presented his fourth budget in a row, said that systems have improved in the previous years. “I have made lot of efforts to improve the systems in the previous budget. Now we need to take the expenditure to the ground and reap benefits of those gains,” he said.

To a question about condition of the state economy, Drabu said that the state government’s economic position is “very good”.

“We need a peaceful atmosphere. Our resource mobilisation has stabilised,” he said.

Talking about his budget, Drabu said that the government has made efforts to reach out to all the stakeholders.

“It is a stakeholders’ budget,” he said, adding that it beneficial for employees, traders, industry, hoteliers and all other sections of the society.

He said that the government has addressed a major and social humanitarian problem by regularising dailywagers, casual and seasonal labourers. “We have provided them a dignified livelihood,” he said.

Talking about his commitment on implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations, he said: “It is for the first time in history of J&K that demands of employees have been met without any agitation.”

To a question about Lakhanpur toll, Drabu said that it is necessary to continue it for the protection local industry. “We have abolished charging of toll at Lower Munda and Heerpur,” he said.

Earlier, speaking in the assembly, Drabu said that J&K is the first state in India that is presenting the budget in the first half of the last quarter of the current fiscal, while the central budget is taking place a month later.

“We were the first state to move from the archaic Plan-Non Plan Expenditure to Capital and Revenue Expenditure which was followed by other states. All the systematic changes been made so far have started paying off,” he said, and added that a new, robust, sustainable and people-friendly financial architecture is taking shape in the state.

He said that it is perhaps for the first time in the budgetary history of J&K that the revised estimates for the current year are much better than the budget estimates presented last year.

“Revenue estimates envisaged to be Rs 9931 crore, have been exceeded and in the process, we have crossed the Rs 10,000 crore mark of own tax collection,” he said.

“When I took over as the Finance Minister, there were huge departmental liabilities of more than Rs 11000 crore, of which Rs 7,000 crore were of power and Rs 4,000 crore across all departments. Today, the departmental liabilities have come down to just Rs 600 crore or so of works done and power purchase liabilities have been reduced to a little more than Rs 3,000 crore,” he said.

The finance minister said that the state was facing an unfunded resource gap of over Rs 3,000 crore.

“As the year comes to an end, I have a surplus of more than Rs 1300 crore. The fiscal deficit which is regarded to be the single most important indicator of fiscal performance, was estimated at around 9.5 percent but has actually turned out to be around 5.7 percent; an improvement of nearly 400 basis points. This is unprecedented,” he said, and added that it indicates that systems, which were in a state of disarray, have started “stabilising and functioning in a better way now.”

“Because of a well-run financial set up, we are able to take decisions that change lives of the people for good, especially of the most vulnerable and marginalised. We hiked the minimum wages of the working class substantially and a new category of highly skilled worker was introduced and Rs 400 was fixed as the minimum wage,” Drabu said.

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