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Greater Kashmir

Zero deficit budget means Jitni Chadder Utney Pawon: Baig

Jammu, Mar 13: Giving detailed account of the various aspects of next year’s budget and explaining salient features of income generation and expenditures envisaged for 2006-07, the Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig who is also Finance Minister told Upper House on Monday that for the better fiscal management performance exhibited by the state during last three years, a bonus grant of Rs. 354 crore, Rs. 350 crore and Rs. 360 crore has been granted by the centre during these years respectively, an official statement said.
Baig said that it is for the first time he has introduced a separate statement entitled budget at a glance, which is being provided to every member alongwith budget papers so that the terminology used and summary of details could be perused at a glance. While giving details of the revenue generation, he said that under two heads the revenue is generated; one is State’s Own Resources (SOR) which includes Sales Tax, VAT, non-taxes, etc and the other is the centre share known as Statuary Grants, adding that this share is the right of the state from central funding. He said the revenue generation under SOR has increased from Rs. 850 crores from 2002-03 to Rs. 1900 crores showing an encouraging improvement in the tax management and revenue collection.
Referring to the overdrafts, the Deputy Chief Minister said that on account of tremendous public demands for reconstruction of gutted structures and for getting lesser central funding, the National Conference Government had to resort to obtain overdraft from Jammu and Kashmir Bank in order to accommodate the deficit. Justifying the act of obtaining overdraft by the NC government for meeting the requirements, Baig said this, however, got inherited by the present government as legacy.
Stating the necessity of resorting to a separate budget for power sector, Baig said this has been initiated to give new impetus to the power development in the state and provide a sound base to the sector. He said by providing for separate power budget, power sector has been authorized to take all decisions with regard to reforms, growth and promotion for which Rs. 1300 crores have also been placed at their disposal. This amount, he said would flow from the centre.
Saying that if losses on power consumption are plugged, the government could save Rs. 3300 crores and draft an annual budget of this volume without any central support. He said out of about Rs. 2000 crores spent on the purchase of the power yearly, nearly 47 percent power is lost as transmission and distribution losses for having a dilapidated transmission system in the state. However, as compared to the expected revenue generation of Rs. 573 crores from electricity, the revenue realization is over Rs. 418 crores only indicating theft of about Rs. 150 crore yearly.