Youth, women, society at the heart of Budget 2023-24

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Srinagar: The whooping budget of Rs 1,18,500 crore for Jammu and Kashmir for the financial year 2023-24 has special focus on employment generation, women empowerment and social inclusion.

An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the total budget estimates for the fiscal is Rs 1,18,500 crore, of which, developmental expenditure was of the order of Rs 41,491 crore.

“The capital component of the budget has increased substantially. The expected revenue receipts are Rs 1,06,061 crore whereas Revenue expenditure is expected to be Rs 77,009 crore, thereby making available revenue surplus for capital expenditure to the tune of Rs 29,052 crore,” the statement quoted the budget document as saying.

Quoting a senior official in the J&K administration, the statement said that the focus of the budget was good governance, strengthening grassroots democracy, promoting sustainable agriculture, facilitating investment and growth, employment generation, accelerated development and inclusive growth, women empowerment, and social inclusion.

"Launch of HIMAYAT 2.0 with renewed focus on employment oriented trades for training and convergence of skill related infrastructure across the departments like Skill Development, Mission Youth, Industries and Commerce, School Education, and Agriculture is also part of the budget,” the senior official said in the statement.

The statement said that as J&K has returned to the path of peace and progress, the youth were enthusiastic to excel in different fields like their counterparts in rest of India.

It said that a massive skill development programme which included introduction of latest streams and technologies at the college level, big industrial setups, start-ups and the exponential growth of small and medium entrepreneurs as well as self-help groups had been made in the budget to cater to all these aspects to take care of youth aspirations.

The statement said that the emphasis of the budget was also on strengthening grass-roots democracy with massive flow of funds for all three tiers of Panchayati Raj, with efforts on holistic improvement in infrastructure, roads and water and setting up agro-based small-scale industries to double the income of farmers and other villagers.

It said that the strengthening of rural healthcare had received a major impetus in this budget to put in requisite equipment, facilities, and laboratories in the hospitals.

The statement said that the power sector reforms and augmentation of the distribution network would continue in the budget and the projection of doubling the electricity generation capacity in the coming years was there.

It said that the budgetary allocations were there to develop a road network with scores of bridges and tunnels to make the remotest areas accessible.

The statement said that major HEPs would generate new employment opportunities for locals and change the outlook of rural Jammu and Kashmir.

It said that for Agriculture and horticulture, the focus of this budget was on changing the scenario with the help of agricultural and horticultural experts.

The statement said that scientific farming with multiple crops, reducing pre and post-harvest losses, financing major and minor farming equipment, and using solar pumps to reduce electricity expenses were the few targeted areas.

It said that the projected plan was to develop agro and horticulture-based associated industries by providing easy finance and technical expertise to double the farmers’ income and generate new employment avenues for the rural youth.

The statement said that doubling milk production, well-coordinated milk collection through cooperatives, and poultry and sheep farming were a few other important sectors getting due attention in the budget.

It said that Rs 900 crore had been provisioned under Holistic Agriculture Development Scheme, Rs 120 crore for Crop Insurance Scheme and Rs 50 crore for the establishment of Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.

The statement said that the focus of the budget was also to develop alternative tourist destinations and religious circuits to ease this stress.

It said that dome trains, infrastructural development at new tourist places, conservation and beautification of lakes, and new ropeways were a few highlights.

The statement said that involving women in all these activities and empowering them and local artisans was on the way.

It said that systematically, products and projects were planned to give a major boost to the overall economy of J&K through tourism and related activities while making pilgrimages safer, improving infrastructure, and developing proper tourism in the vicinity were also projected in this budget.

“Rs 60 crore have been kept for new circuits including Mansar, Surinsar and Sufi circuits and identified religious circuits during year 2023-24, Rs 15 crore projected for new ropeways and promotion of golf. Besides, Rs 30 crore have been provisioned for the festival promotion, Rs 100 crore for promotion of cinema and theatre and Rs 100 crore for heritage preservation,” the statement said.

It said that Rs 5000 crore had been provisioned for Jal Jeevan Mission and all districts would be covered under ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’.

The statement said that funds were being earmarked for ensuring quality assurance, setting up of labs and introduction of service level benchmarking system with Rs 500 crore having been provisioned for Jal Jeevan Mission as Union Territory share.

It said that third party inspection system would be established within Finance Department for ensuring 100 percent physical verification of all the projects being implemented in J&K and solid waste management would be ensured in all the towns and service level benchmarking system would be introduced.

The statement said that Rs 200 crore had been provisioned under Swachh Bharat Mission.

It said that significantly, train connectivity to Kashmir and widening of major portion of the Srinagar-Jammu highway would be achieved in this financial year as adequate budgetary provisions were made for the sector.

The statement said that the aspirations of all regions had been taken into account and that there was something for everyone.

It said that enough planning and thought had been applied to create an overall well-planned and futuristic budget that would give impetus to economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir.

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