Jammu, March 25: Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said historic Rs. 1. 12 lakh crore budget reflects the needs and aspirations of the people of J&K and the commitment of his administration for peace, progress, and prosperity.
“The immediate goal is to accelerate the pace of economic development in the UT and make it multi-dimensional. The budget is primarily `Growth-Oriented’ and in line with the endeavors of the UT government to double its economy in the next few years,” he told the media.
The budget envisages inclusive, all-around development in Jammu and Kashmir and has also provided resources to realize the vision of developed and prosperous Jammu & Kashmir, he added.
Lt Governor detailed the sector-wise allocation and highlighted the key features of the budget 2022-23:
Good Governance, Agriculture & Horticulture, Power Sector, Rural Development, Strengthening Grass-Root Democracy, Facilitating Investment & Industrial Growth, Infrastructure Development, Improving Connectivity, Broadening Social Inclusion, Har Ghar Nal se Jal, Education, Youth, Tourism, and Health & Medical Education sectors have remained the focus areas of the budget 2022-23.
Allocation of Rs 1313 crore to Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies is aimed at strengthening the grassroots democratic setup in the UT. Rs 200 crore have been earmarked as Development Fund for 20 District Development Councils (Rs 10 crore for each DDC) and Rs 71.25 crore for Block Development Councils (Rs 25 lakh each). Besides, Rs 357 crore has been kept for Solid Waste Management with the two Municipal Corporations and other ULBs.
Huge allocation of Rs 9,289.15 crore has been allocated to the Jal Shakti Department this year. Rs 7750 crore kept under Jal Jeevan Mission for achieving the objective of 100% piped water supply to each household. Apart from this, 43 irrigation schemes are being targeted for completion this year under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and 28,000 hectares of irrigation potential will be created/stabilized during 2022-23.
This year, Rs 2,835 crore have been allocated to the agriculture sector and Rs 646 crore to horticulture. The budget aims at doubling the farmers’ income in a planned manner. The strategy is to focus on the cultivation of high-yielding/high-density crops, the use of modern technology, and a host of other measures. Nine lakh farmers are being benefitted by the distribution of High Yield Varieties/Hybrid seeds. Provision for coverage of 400 hectares under high-density apple plantations and 1000 hectares under sub-tropical fruit plants has also been made in the budget.
The allocation of Rs 391.90 crore for the Animal, Sheep Husbandry, and Fisheries sector will help to meet our target of setting up 2,000 additional dairy units in the Union Territory providing direct employment to 5000 people.
This year’s allocation of Rs 5,443 crore for the rural sector will give a major fillip to our endeavors of Rural Development and Economy. Under MGNREGA, 426 lakh person-days to be generated and more than 14,000 youth will be trained under the Rural Skill Development Programme. Target has been set for constructing 54,000 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana during 2022-23. We are also targeting to include 21,994 additional Self-Help Groups to our existing tally. Dedicated focus is being given to connecting all Gram Panchayats with the Internet. Under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, 1500 elected public representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions will be sent for exposure visits outside Jammu and Kashmir.
Connectivity is a priority sector and critical for the all-round development of the UT of J&K. Unprecedented progress has been made in the last two years in this regard. Allocation to the tune of Rs 6296 crore has been made to further strengthen the road and bridge network in Jammu and Kashmir. Four major National Highway projects viz; Jammu-Akhnoor Road, Chenani-Sudhmahadev road, Baramulla-Gulmarg road, and Semi-ring Road Jammu are being completed during 2022. Execution of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway project is also being taken-up, besides 10 new road/tunnel projects for the UT under Bharatmala project. Overall 6000 Kms of blacktopping of roads will be achieved during 2022-23 under various components.
For the power sector, Rs 8,768 crore has been allocated in the budget this year. In the last one and a half years, historic steps have been taken to strengthen power generation and infrastructure. We are working diligently towards the target of generating 3500 MW of electricity in three years and this will be further increased to three times in 7 years. The Central Government has also approved Rs 11,000 crore Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) project aimed at improving the power system in the UT and providing quality power to the people of J&K. In this financial year, 3 lakh smart meters each will be installed in Jammu and Srinagar to ensure reliable power supply.
As far as the Health sector is concerned, the Union Government has earmarked Rs 7,873 crore which will go a long way in extending best-in-class medical facilities to the people of the UT. The pace of coverage of AB-PMJAY will be accelerated covering all the residents of J&K. Efforts will be made to start the First Batch of MBBS classes in New Medical colleges at Handwara Kupwara and Udhampur, increasing the overall intake capacity to 1300 MBBS seats in J&K. Completion of seven nursing colleges is also targeted for 2022-23.
The Union Government has given special attention to the School and Higher Education Department by allocating Rs 11,832 crore in this year’s budget. 500 Kindergartens will be established in government schools; 518 smart classrooms and 200 Vocational Laboratories are targeted to be established. We aim at completing 37 Girls Hostel Buildings and 12 KGBV buildings, constructing 7 college buildings, setting up Centers for Invention, Innovation, Incubation, and Training (CIIIT) in Jammu and Srinagar, giving computer tablets to 8000 meritorious tribal students, besides providing skill training to around 20,000 undergraduate students. We have also set the target to accomplish 100% coverage of pre-matric and post-matric scholarships to Tribal students.
Rs.1,003 crore allocation to the Industries and Commerce Department will complement the ongoing efforts being made to take industrial development in UT to new heights. A substantial amount will be spent on establishing new industrial estates in Jammu and Kashmir. The Industries Department will also assist 2000 Self Help Groups in promoting handicrafts.
In this year’s budget, Rs 200 crore has been allocated to provide financial assistance to young aspiring entrepreneurs of J&K.
The Social welfare department’s Rs. 3,203 crore budget allocation will ensure that the benefits of the welfare schemes reach every eligible beneficiary. Motorized Tricycles will be provided to all Divyangjan.
Tourism contributes significantly to J&K’s economy. Rs. 508 crore tourism budget will enable the sector to grow, thus benefiting the local population. 75 offbeat destinations are being identified and developed, and unexplored areas are also being developed under public-private partnerships.
Keeping in mind the welfare of the tribal community, provision has been made to establish 14 new milk villages, besides constructing 7 transit accommodations for the community. Moreover, 29 Cluster Model Villages are being established which are at different stages of implementation.
Best policies are being worked out to encourage the sporting talents like Arif, Sadia, and Aarushi Kotwal, who made J&K proud with their distinct achievements. In this financial year, national-level events will be organized in different disciplines of 17 sports. Around 7.50 lakh youth will be provided an opportunity to showcase their talent, and 221 playfields will be constructed in all 20 districts of UT.
Development of Border Villages is another important sector that received a dedicated focus in the budget. With the allocation of Rs 600 crore for border villages, and Rs. 50 crore under the Samridh Seema Yojana, special efforts will be made for the development of villages along the borders.
Under Smart City Mission, 80 projects will be completed and Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked for this. 100 electric buses each will ply on the roads of Jammu and Srinagar. 09 major sewerage schemes at an estimated cost of Rs. 1131 crore are to be executed and Rs. 373 crore will be spent for the revival of Dal and Nagin lake. Moreover, the balance portion of work on Tawi Barrage costs Rs. 73.34 crore is expected to be completed during 2022-23.
Replying to the question on the government’s efforts for the welfare of Kashmiri Pandits, the Lt Governor said that the relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits is one of the prime focus areas of both the Central and the UT governments. 1025 Transit Accommodations are ready at various places in Kashmir Valley and 1488 units are at various stages of completion. Out of 6000 posts, appointments have been made to 4678 posts and the process of recruitment on the remaining posts is also being completed in mission mode, he added.
On the issue of employment, the Lt Governor said that in the last one and half years, 11,000 appointments have been made most transparently. For the first time in history, meritorious candidates from disadvantaged sections have got government jobs based on merit. Apart from this, 20,323 other posts have been identified and recommended for the recruitment process on a fast track basis. We are exploring all possibilities for generating a host of employment opportunities in every sector, he added.
Business delegates from Gulf Countries’ visited Kashmir to explore investment opportunities in the UT. We have cleared investment proposals to the tune of Rs 27,000 crore, within a year and allotted them land for their projects. The investment proposals are expected to cross Rs 70,000 crores in the next six months, the Lt Governor further added. The Government is encouraging cultivation by border dwellers on the abandoned land near the IB to increase acreage and production thus benefiting the farmers, said the Lt Governor in reply to a question by the media person.