Budget likely to go up


Jammu and Kashmir's general budget for 2018-19 could, for the first time, touch around Rs 85,000 crores and Rs 1.5 lakh crore if collective revenue plus expenditure were taken, which would lead to massive infrastructure development in the State, giving further push to growth rate, which was close to 7 per cent, better than the country. The growth rate and massive increase in upcoming budget were possible due to series of reforms initiated by the Finance Ministry including clubbing of 29 Departments into four sectors, doing away with Plan, Non-Plan System, presentation of early budget and ending Treasury system in the State. The budget size for next Financial Year of 2018-19, which will be presented by Finance Minister DrHaseebDrabu in the Legislative Assembly on January 11, could be around the size of Rs 80,000 cr to Rs 85,000 crore. The combined revenue and expenditure budget could be around Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister DrHaseebDrabu, who will be presenting his fourth budget in a row, has said that the Finance Ministry has decided to take back 25 per cent unspent amount if the expenditure by December 31 was below 50 per cent. Asserting that 2 per cent Toll being charged at Lakhanpur was not part of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as toll hadn't been subsumed in the GST, the Finance Minister said Lakhanpur was not only revenue point but a historical point for getting information including what kind of goods were coming and going. He added that Entry Tax and Additional Duty have been removed at Lakhanpur and only Toll was being charged.
The Finance Minister said horticulture and trade sectors have been showing positive growth while tourism and industry have shown less growth. Tourism was related to the situation as very few tourists visited the Valley during last two years due to disturbed conditions. He announced that Jammu and Kashmir will completely shun the system of treasuries and switch over to Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) from January 1. "By March 31, the changeover will be complete and the State would usher in new system of the PAO''. Shortly, the Government will introduce Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme on pilot basis in two Departments including Social Welfare and Public Works followed by others.

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