FC recommends entitlement-based allocation

‘Kupwara, Doda, Kargil Have Grown As Most Backward Districts’


Srinagar, Dec 14: Constituted to provide an outline for equitable development of all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, the State Finance Commission, in its report submitted to the government has strongly recommended for allocation of resources to administrative units based on ”entitlement” rather than following the set procedure.
While observing that Kupwara, Doda and Kargil have grown as the most backward districts, the Commission, in its 5-volume report spread over more than 1300 pages, has found “certain levels” of deprivation as well as development in every district. It has expressed reservations over under-achievement in some prime sectors—Agriculture and Horticulture besides dealing at length on threat posed to states’ rich bio-diversity due to prolonged negligence.
In a specific chapter dealing with resource distribution and administrative reforms, the 4-member Commission which was headed by former bureaucrat Mehmood-ur-Rehman, on the basis of a “formulae” developed after studying different indicators of development and pattern of resources distribution in other states has recommended that every district in Jammu and Kashmir should have an entitlement for resources (funds) under state and district sectors determined by scientific criteria comprising of well accepted development indicators and based on level of progress or backwardness. Other members of the Commission which was constituted through an Act of state legislature in 2007 were Prof Nisar Ali, a renowned Economist, Swami Raj Sharma from Jammu and Sanam Dawa from Ladakh.
“There are administrative units which have grown at a low pace demonstrating lower development or higher degree of backwardness suggesting that allocation of funds was not scientific in nature. However, criteria stipulated in the report addresses the issue both at regional as well as sub-regional level,” sources privy to the report said. Presently the state follows the guidelines and norms prescribed by the Planning Commission for implementation of plethora of different state and centrally sponsored schemes in different areas and allocation of funds.
After analyzing the 5-year plans for the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th five-year the Commission observed that in some cases the regions and sub-regions have suffered on development front in different sectors due to “improper planning.”
For instance the primary education has got neglected in Kashmir in comparison to Jammu resulting in low literacy rate at primary level in the Valley. Surprisingly the Commission had noticed that the monetary allocation and expenditure for the sector in the region has remained low when it should have been otherwise.
However, it has observed that allocation of more funds in some sectors in a particular region had more to do with the potential of that sector in the region. “This is true about tourism in Kashmir having great potential and Agriculture in some districts of Jammu. It can’t be called discrimination,” the Commission has noticed.
On state’s performance in Horticulture sector the Commission has observed that more than 25 per cent of fruit would get wasted every year due to lack of infrastructure to utilize it.
“The Horticulture Production and Marketing Corporation was started with a bang in JK but its performance has been on lower side. The department has failed to introduce different fruit varieties at ground level while the existing varieties are up against pathological problems and competition from outside. No serious attention has been given to it over the years. Though the commission has suggested measures for revival of the sector but things can’t be achieved overnight,” noticed the Commission.
For instance it has observed that the walnut crop has failed this season in Kashmir due to erratic climate changes. “But there has been no progress on developing cold and disease resistant crop. There has been no effort to introduce sub-tropical fruits in JK when the other states have already progress in the area.”
On Agriculture sector, the Commission has noticed that the rice production in major crop producing belts of the state including Anantnag in Kashmir was matching the produce at national level.
“But due to the overburden on the sector in absence of facilities particularly irrigation, and diminishing of the area under cultivation, the state was fast growing dependent on imports and the situation could be alarming in future. The self sufficiency in the crop production may be a distant dream but initiative is a must.”
A separate chapter on JK’s bio-diversity, consisting of more than 100 pages, has cautioned the government about the steps needed to be taken to save rare fauna and flora from getting extinct.
The Commission has been of the view that state could have developed an electronic industry to cater to some growing job demands. It has studied in depth all the 20 corporations, most of which are lying defunct today. “The Commission has positively dealt with the problems faced by them we have suggested the measures whether they should be revived or disposed off,” the member said.
For proper and speedy implementation of the report the Commission has been of the view that government should create multiple task forces to give specific attention to a particular sector.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST

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