Hope we prosper
People have reposed trust in legislators and they expect that all their needs and concerns will be addressed, writes Dr. Ram Chander Sharma.
Jammu and Kashmir assembly is in budget session – to formulate policies and plan the budget for the next financial year. Jammu and Kashmir is at a cross roads to achieve self-reliance – to generate hydle power, to boost growth in animal sector, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, floriculture, industries…. so on. The new mode of protest (stone pelting) by mobs of youngsters in Kashmir valley is sudden, spontaneous outrage against the police and security forces -- proving difficult to control by the law enforcing agencies – perhaps the elders have no authority to control the mob. Budget session is auspicious occasion in the legislature to decide the matters concerning the welfare of people and to raise the issues concerning common man. The present coalition government is plagued with lack of good governance, hemorrhaging public sector units, ever increasing wage bill and unrest of salaried class, unemployment, colossal waste on developmental works, decreasing animal/agriculture every passing year, lack of political will to face the challenges in an atmosphere of wide spread corruption in the corridors of government.
On the other hand the Indian economic survey released by the Finance Ministry is rosy with growth rate this fiscal year pegged at 8.7% and will cross double digit in next 2-3 years. Indian economy has been least affected by the global recession inspite of the spiraling increase of the food items, which crossed the 20% increase igniting the inflationary trends. The following Union budget for the year 2010-11 gave space to the individual tax payers – the stimulus to industry was removed and the excise duty raised from 8% to 10%, fuel prices hiked. The big paradox was the fall in growth of agriculture and allied sectors, which showed 0.21% increase and needs a minimum of 4% growth every year.
Last year the state FM Abdul Rahim Rather presented first deficit budget in seven years at a fiscal deficit at Rs 2081 cr. when state GSDP and per capita income dropped below national average. He raised the prices of petrol, diesel, chicken and liquor to bridge the gap. Those were the short-term measures instead of long term measures to make the state self reliant with employment generation to end the two-decade unrest and bad governance. Jammu and Kashmir a state rich in natural resources -- finds the solutions in imports from other states of India. Although having abundant hydle power generation electricity worth Rs 2454 cr. is purchased for the year 2010-11 form national grid with transmission and distribution losses at 58%. The revenue realization is pegged at only Rs 921 cr. The government never took bold initiatives to stop the big leakage in power distribution and privatize it or the build the local generation capacity. The other main area of the flight of capital worth RS 1500 cr. from the state is the import of sheep and goats (20 lac/yr.), poultry, eggs and feed from outside the state is in shambles. Last year the FM had declared some soup for this sector but nothing has happened on ground. He abolished duty of import of day old chick, raise the levy on live poultry from Rs 2 of 3 and that of sheep/goat from Rs 25 to 35 to boost local production. Instead for last one month mutton has vanished from the retail outlets, as the meat traders are demand a hefty hike in price from Rs 180 per kg to 250 and the government is acting as mute spectator with hand tied. There was no required stimulus for the sector and the key posts at the District heads and other provincial heads are lying vacant due to non-serious approach of the concerned Ministry. The agri and allied sector need reorganization and government support to create irrigation and power infrastructure and a transparent transfer and promotion policy. The break down of Public Distribution System as no ration has been provide for the month of February which was to be distributed free of cost due to drought. The bogus ration cards and black marketing of the BPL ration is rampant. The required benefits don’t trickle to the poor.
In the last budget FM announced an employment policy for implementation by 5th Dec last – to create opportunities for the unemployed youths who are around 5-7 lac in the state. Nothing concrete has happened so far. The unemployed were expecting the allowance which remained as a promise unfulfilled. The state coffers are empty with the Govt. and PSUs employees on the street and brutally canned for their demands to get 6th pay commissions arrears and conversion of COLA to DA. All hopes of the government stuck the to the award of 13th finance commission report. On the other day the Chief Minister on the floor of the house announced the previous PDP government left a liability of whopping Rs 2400 cr. Where that money has gone? Will government have the courage to constitute a joint legislature committee to investigate and punish the culprits?
The finances of the state are in shambles. The begging bowl syndromes never leaves the rulers with CM and his party bowing to the “Dilli Durbar” as 90% of the expenses of the state are provided by the central government. The legislators must ask for the compensation for the losses due to the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. The royalty from the central hydle power projects must be raised from the meager 12% to 50%. The power distribution must be privatized, the animal sector need overhaul with the merger of Sheep and Animal Husbandry Departments, a set up not seen any where in the world. Government must announce a transparent and corruption free transfer policy to bring accountability and good governance in the system. The livestock sector need the stimulus for generation of employment opportunities and bring the production of meat, milk and eggs as a export oriented industry. The mechanization in agri production and creation of irrigation infrastructure be self reliant. The other areas of the concern are education and health for all to the remote areas.
The state is hilly and mountainous with many areas having no connectivity at all. On the one hand China is building rail tracks, roads and airstrips all along the LoC and PoK areas the Indian govt. is sleeping over the matter. The areas like Banipur, Kishtwar, Doda, Ladakh, Kargil, Rajouri Poonch, Marwha and Wadwan need rail road and air connectivity. Govt. must ask for a economic package like given to the North-Eastern states.
Sate has largest number in Refugees, Displaced Persons and migrants due to the proxy war unleashed by the Pakistan aided terrorists. It is a welcome sign to create awareness, opportunities and rehabilitation policy for the misguided youth who have gone across the LOC for arms training. But the policy should not be at the cost of those peaceful and educated youths who remained peaceful and suffered here. There must be a rehab policy of the govt. of Jammu and Kashmir and Govt. of India on the lines like UN Refugee Status of 1951 and JK govt must ask for international humanitarian aid in this sector. The long pending demands of PoK Refugees like their compensation of HR violation, payment for moveable and immovable properties, royalty from the world bank for Mangla Dam in Mirpur, honorable rehab and return of KPs, West Pak Refugee citizenship rights, the rehab of DPs of 1965 and 1971 wars are the key issues before the Assembly session.
The people of J&K have reposed faith in the Legislators, the wasting of precious time of the house on issues which otherwise can be seen by government at lower level must not mar the business of the house. A state, second most corrupt and solely dependent on the mercy of central government, can’t push the law making forum to cheap gimmicks and make a fish market out of it.
(Dr. Ram Chander Sharma is a freelancer. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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