J&K’s new fiscal plan raises doubts

Doubts are bound to be raised on the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to adopt budget in January instead of March. For, this state will be the first to deviate from the nationwide fiscal system.

The state government says that the working season in most parts of the state is from March to December. When the budget is passed in March, the funds can flow to the field level only by June, leaving a working season of six months only. Secondly, as the budget session takes away February and March, the government loses two months of the working season, bringing the whole development process to a grinding halt.

Former Union Minister Chaman Lal Gupta has asked the Centre to reject the proposal. He questioned the rationale behind the January budget session as the final figures on the State Plan won’t be available by that time.

The state is heavily dependent upon the Centre for finances. Its revenue is hardly sufficient to foot the wage bill of the four lakh employees. Ninety per cent of the State Plan is assistance from the Centre while 10 per cent is the loan component. The state’s total loan liability is Rs 1,500 crore. It has been pleading with the Centre to waive off this liability. The NDA government did not yield and gave a lesson or two on fiscal discipline.

Unemployment problem has become acute though there are about 40,000 vacancies in the state. The recruitment process is quite tardy despite the Centre having lifted the ban. If the state adopts the budget in January, it has to withdraw the budgeted sum from the state’s consolidated fund or take loan from the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.



Reduce the stress

The way our armed forces personnel have been shooting one another calls for an in-depth study of the underlying problem. Basically, such desperate acts seem to be a fallout of working continuously without rest, poor service conditions, dilution of dignity in the present money-driven society, problems at home and so on.

It is time to improve the service conditions of the armed forces to enable them maintain a second home for the separated families. This is particularly important today as the joint family system has crumbled. The political masters would do well to avoid sending wrong signals that appear to negate the sacrifices our soldiers have been making in fighting terrorism. 

Air Cmdr RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

VAT on CSD items

The CSD facility has been granted to armed forces personnel to provide grocery, novelty, liquor at subsidised rates. However, those deployed in the most disturbed state of Jammu and Kashmir are deprived of the facility.

For, they have to pay VAT at 12.5 per cent on most items purchased from the CSD.

The Centre and the state government should exempt VAT on CSD facility and remove discrimination.


Elections to RS

This has reference to Kuldip Nayar’s article, “The Rajya Sabha” (Nov 4). On the issue of the election of members to the Rajya Sabha, the Supreme Court’s rejection of the review petition sets in a feeling of dejection even in those die hard optimists who look forward to the apex court for rooting out the maladies that creep into the system.

The apex court seems to have overlooked the reasons for scrapping the domicile requirement for the Rajya Sabha members.

The write-up of an eminent journalist is sufficient ground for the Supreme Court to re-examine the case suo motu.

Dr RAM VIR, Faridabad

Vikas Yatra and Sangat Darshan

The Vikas Yatra of Capt Amarinder Singh and the Sangat Darshan of Mr Parkash Singh Badal are two sides of the same coin. Both are like shikar of the kings of yore who often went out for enjoyment and diversion from the routine life.

Both Vikas Yatra and Sangat Darshan are undemocratic and waste of public funds. To distribute cheques in Sangat Darshan and dole out Rs 20,000 to a host for a cup of tea and to hand over a Rs 1,000 currency note to a child in the Vikas Yatra are nothing short of royal vanity.

Democracy cannot allow such wasteful expenditure, especially when most people are deprived of basic amenities like clean drinking water.

Impartial and effective administration is the cornerstone of a democracy. Unfortunately, this is hardly practised by today’s Maharajas and their minions.




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