J&K gets 'in principle' approval for budget
13 December 2006
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: The Planning Commission has given its 'in principle' approval to Jammu and Kashmir's annual budget of Rs 4,000 crore for 2007. The approval was given after a meeting between State Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia here today. 'Planning commission has given its in principle approval to the annual budget, which will be finalised after two- three more meetings between various departments,' Azad told reporters after the meeting. However, an official source said the budget could not be finalised as the State wanted to carry forward part of the Rs 1,300-crore power reform grant it received from the Centre. 'The issue has to be settled by the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister,' the source said. However, Ahluwalia has assured the State he would support their stand with Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister, the source said. The State Government would hold its budget session in January 2007. With the budget session being held in January, allocation of funds for various Ministries would be completed by March, leaving enough time for implementation of plans of the State Government. The State also requested the Planning Commission to club the Phase-II of Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan with the 11th five-year plan. Meanwhile, in the meeting, Ahluwalia praised the State on its fiscal reforms and said growth indicators looked good. He suggested the State Government to diversify its farm sector and make value additions in horticulture sector. 'They have been asked to focus on marketing horticulture products and make plans for improving the quality so that more revenue can be generated,' the official said. For the 11th plan, the State Government has targeted a 6.5 per cent growth during the first year and a 7.5 per cent growth in the second year. It has also set an aim to develop the agriculture sector at a rate of four per cent and increase jobs at a rate of 6.8 per cent during 2007-12.