The Bold Voice of J&K

Futuristic 2023-24 budget lays special focus on employment generation, women empowerment, social inclusion

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Amrit Kaal Budget

The whooping budget of Rs 1,18,500 crore for Jammu & Kashmir for the financial year 2023-24 has special focus on employment generation, women empowerment and social inclusion. The total budget estimates for the fiscal is Rs. 1,18,500 crore, of which, developmental expenditure is 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,” reads the budget document.
According to a senior official in the J&K administration, the focus of the budget is 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 & Commerce, School Education, Agriculture etc is also part of the budget. As Jammu and Kashmir has returned to the path of peace and progress, the youth are enthusiastic to excel in different fields like their counterparts in rest of India. 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 have been made in the budget today cater to all these aspects to take care of youth aspirations.
The emphasis of the budget is 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. The strengthening of rural health care has received a major impetus in this budget to put in requisite equipments, facilities and laboratories in the hospitals. Moreover, Power sector reforms and augmentation of the distribution network will continue in the budget and the projection of doubling the electricity generation capacity in the coming years is there.
Budgetary allocations are there to develop a road network with scores of bridges and tunnels to make the remotest areas accessible. Major HEPs will generate new employment opportunities for locals and change the outlook of rural Jammu and Kashmir. For Agriculture and horticulture, the focus of this budget is on changing the scenario with the help of agricultural and horticultural experts. 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 are the few targeted areas. The projected plan is 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. Doubling milk production, well-coordinated milk collection through cooperatives, and poultry and sheep farming are a few other important sectors getting due attention in the budget. Rs 900 crore have been provisioned under Holistic Agriculture Development Scheme.
And, Rs 120 crore have been provisioned for Crop Insurance Scheme besides Rs 50 crore have been provisioned for establishment of Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.
The focus of the budget is also to develop alternative tourist destinations and religious circuits to ease this stress. Dome trains, infrastructural development at new tourist places, conservation and beautification of lakes, and new ropeways are a few highlights.
Involving women in all these activities and empowering them and local artisans is on the way. Systematically, products and projects are planned to give a major boost to the overall economy of the UT through tourism and related activities. Making pilgrimages safer, improving infrastructure, and developing proper tourism in the vicinity are also projected in this budget.
Similarly, “Rs 60 crore have been kept for new circuits including Mansar, Surinsar and Sufi Circuit and identified Religious Circuits during year 2023-24, Rs 15 crore have been 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/Threatre and Rs 100 crore for Heritage Preservation. Moreover, Rs 5000 crore have been provisioned for Jal Jeevan Mission.
All districts will be covered under ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’. Funds are being earmarked for ensuring Quality Assurance, Setting up of Labs and introduction of Service Level Benchmarking System. Rs 500 crore have been provisioned for Jal Jeevan Mission as Union Territory Share.
Third party Inspection system will be established within Finance Department for ensuring 100% physical verification of all the projects being implemented in the Union Territory and Solid Waste Management will be ensured in all the towns and Service Level Benchmarking System will be introduced. Also, Rs 200 crore have been provisioned under Swachh Bharat Mission. Significantly, train connectivity to Kashmir and widening of major portion of the Jammu-Srinagar highway will be achieved in this financial year as adequate budgetary provisions are made for the sector. The aspirations of all regions have been taken into account; there is something for everyone.
Enough planning and thought have been applied to create an overall well-planned and futuristic budget that will give impetus to economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir.

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