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Parliament approves both appropriation bills for JK

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JAMMU: The Parliament considered the Revised Estimates for 2023-24 and Interim Budget 2024-25 of Government of Jammu and Kashmir starting from Tuesday. The two Appropriation Bills on the Supplementary Budget for 2023-24 and Vote on Account for 2024-25 were placed by Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sithraman on 5th February, 2024.

The ongoing efforts of the UT Government were also appreciated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tuesday.Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, Principal Secretary Finance Santosh Vaidya and Secretary Planning Mohammad Aijaz represented Jammu and Kashmir before the Committee. This effort highlighted the developmental initiatives of the UT government before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The Lok Sabha considered the Bills on 6th and 7th February and passed both the Bills on Wednesday. After seeking approval of President of India, these Bills were then considered by the Rajya Sabha which approved them on Thursday.

Finance Department of the UT Government had drafted both the Bills for Supplementary Budget for the current year and the Interim Budget for the next financial year. For this, the Department had assessed the revenue receipts of the UT Government from GST, motor spirit tax, excise, and stamp duty. Further, the non-tax revenue from electricity and water supply, mining royalty, timber sales, annual rent from industrial lands, etc were also examined. The own revenue of the UT Government has been estimated at Rs. 20,867 crore. The UT Government also pursued Government of India for getting central financial assistance.

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha and Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo led the UT’s efforts in this direction. Crucial meetings were held in August 2023, October 2023 and January 2024 in Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Finance to review these demands of the UT Government. Union Home Minister and Union Finance Minister personally reviewed the fiscal management of the UT Government in recent months.

Accordingly, the Central Government has agreed to provide Rs. 41751.44 crore to the UT Government in this financial year and Rs.37277.74 crore in the next financial year. These assistance figures were duly captured in the Revised Estimates of 2023-24 and the Budget Estimates of 2024-25 of the Union Government. This assistance includes the normal assistance (resource gap) to the UT Government, equity contribution for hydropower projects at Kiru, Kwar and Rattle, etc.

Building on this, Finance Department drafted its Supplementary Budget for 2023-24 and Vote on Account for 2024-25 and the two Appropriation Bills. The revised estimates for 2023-24 is overall lower than the budgeted estimates 2023-24 as the UT government was successful in streamlining its expenditure.

The supplementary demands for 2023-24 of ₹8,712.90 crore pertain to the four Departments of Finance, Power Development, Hospitality and Protocol and Cooperatives. The supplementary budget is required by Finance department in view of the repayment of debt, while Power Development department needs to provide for power procurement. The Hospitality and Protocol department intends to develop the new J&K Bhawan at Dwarka, New Delhi for which land will be allotted from DDA.

The Cooperative department requires the funding additionality for its new CSS, Assistance to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). These additional demands are proposed to be catered with Supplementary Demands for the current year 2023-24.

The Parliament also approved the interim budget for 2024-25 for Jammu & Kashmir which makes provisions for the ongoing initiatives in J&K to promote social inclusion, enhance transparency, augment revenues, and step up infrastructure development. It also provides for ongoing measures for sustainable agriculture, industrial estate, PRI level works, employment generation, and developing tourism.The Parliament also approved the UT’s Vote on Account for Rs. 59,364 crore. This interim budget covers revenue expenditure of Rs. 40,081 crore and capital expenditure of Rs. 19,283 crore.

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