State going through worst-ever financial crunch, say officials
Srinagar, Jan 20: With Jammu and Kashmir reeling under severe financial crunch and its liabilities mounting to Rs 2000 crore, the Governor NN Vohra has decided to intervene personally and meet the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley this week to seek funds to clear the debts.
A senior official in the State Finance Department said the Governor has already taken a note of the state’s financial crisis. “After the imposition of Governor’s rule in J&K on January 8, Vohra held a meeting with senior officials of the Finance department at the Civil Secretariat Jammu where they apprised him of the deteriorating financial health of the state, following which the Governor sought the Centre’s intervention in resolving the crisis,” the official, who wished not to be named, said.
He said the Governor has also decided to meet the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to seek the release of Plan and other funds from the central government which are yet to be cleared “due to the imposition of Model Code of Conduct earlier and the now the stalemate over government formation.”
“The state government had earlier also sought release of funds but the Centre raised certain queries which can be taken up with it only by a political dispensation,” the official said, adding, “Now that the Governor has personally taken up the matter (with the Centre), it is likely that the funds will be released soon.”
Sources told Greater Kashmir that while J&K is presently facing the worst-ever financial crunch due to non-release of funds by the central government, the delay in formation of the government “is only aggravating the problem.”
“As of now, the liabilities have mounted to Rs 2000 crore including the pending Rs 500 crore on account of General Provident Fund (GPF) and contractor bills of Rs 600 crore,” they said, adding, “The liability on account of payment of arrears of Dearness Allowance is also increasing with each passing day.”
“In 2014, the 17 percent DA due to government employees has not been released so far. The Government is only able to release salaries and meet other day-to-day expenses,” the sources said, “Post-floods, the government deferred payment of VAT and other taxes till March which also dried up the treasuries as there is no cash flow from internal resources.”
The government of India had approved Rs 7300 crore annual plan, Rs 4000 crore under Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Rs 600 crore under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) for Jammu and Kashmir, during the current 2014-15.
The cash crunch situation in Kashmir is taking severe toll on stakeholders who are already bearing the brunt of recent floods.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director General Accounts and Treasuries, Altaf Hussain Mirza admitted that the current liabilities have mounted up to Rs 2000 crore.