J&K faces delay in Plan approval, fears financial crunch

J&K faces delay in Plan approval, fears financial crunch

With delay in approval of annual plan by the Planning Commission of India for the current financial year, Jammu and Kashmir government is heading for a major financial crisis.

Sources told Deccan Herald that due to withholding of plan funds by the Centre, not only have development works in the state taken a big hit, J&K government is now struggling to manage resources for payment of salaries of its employees.

“As budget session in the Parliament is scheduled to last till August 8, unless extended, the government of India would take up annual plan of the states after that,” they said.

“The state government is trying its best to manage the funds with available resources but that too would exhaust in coming days. Until annual plan of the state isn’t approved, which appears a distinct possibility as of now, the developmental process in the state could come to a standstill,” sources added.

The sword of model code of conduct for the upcoming Assembly polls is another worry for the state government as Assembly polls are due in November this year. “The development season of the current year could suffer badly as Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to go to Assembly polls later this year,” sources said.

Officials in the Finance Department revealed to Deccan Herald that bulk of the state’s revenue expenditure which includes salaries, pension and wages is met from non-plan funds.

They said delay in approval of the annual plan has also resulted in delay in holding of the District Development Board meetings for current financial year, which had to approve development work to be undertaken by the districts.

“In the past the state government used to be sure that annual plan projected by it in the budget would be approved by the Planning Commission as the Commission officials used to give broad hints to the state officials of Planning and Finance departments about the plan, Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) and centrally sponsored schemes.

However, this time in the absence of new Planning Commission, the state government has not been able to get any clue about the plan and is indecisive about allocations to be made to the districts,” the officials revealed.

A senior officer in the Finance Department said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had taken up the issue of early approval of annual plan of Jammu and Kashmir during his meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Srinagar last month.

“However, the Centre has decided that it would take up annual plans of all States after approval of budget by the Parliament. But to give some relaxation to five states, scheduled to go for polls, the Centre has decided to take up plans at the earliest,” he added.

Last year also there was inordinate delay in plan finalization and the meeting for the same matured only in late July. Then the Commission created more embarrassing situation for J&K by approving annual plan of Rs 7,300 crore – Rs 700 crore less than the projection made by the State.

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