February 2016 News

J&K Gets IIMC, Spl Industrial Package & Srinagar-Leh Transmission Line

29 February 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced Regional Centre of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and Special Industry Initiative for Jammu and Kashmir apart from Srinagar-Leh power transmission line in the budget presented by him for 2016-17 in Lok Sabha. Jaitley announced four new Regional Centres of IIMCs for an equal number of States including Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra and Mizoram. The budget also unveiled Rs 265 crores worth industrial development of backward and remote areas of three special category States including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Out of total package of Rs 265 crores, a provision of Rs 70 crores has been kept in the Plan category for 2016-17 for Jammu and Kashmir. The broad contours of special industrial package would be released later by the Finance Ministry. The transport subsidy to industrial units of Jammu and Kashmir, which is 90 per cent, will continue to promote industrialization in hilly, remote and inaccessible areas under Transport Subsidy Scheme, 1971. The similar scheme is also applicable to North East and Uttarakhand. 'The scheme of package for special category States is implemented for providing concessions-subsidy to boost industrial investment in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in order to reduce regional imbalance,' Jaitley said. Under the special industry initiative for Jammu and Kashmir scheme, the Government will provide skills to Graduates, Post Graduates and professional degree holders to enhance their employability, the budget said. More than half of the Rs 580 crore in funds allocated for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants remained unutilised during fiscal 2015-16. According to the budget, Rs 580 crore were allocated during 2015- 16 but as per revised estimates, only Rs 280 crore were provided, leaving Rs 300 crore unutilised. This year, a consolidated budget of Rs 849.12 crore has been allocated for 'relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates'. It covers reimbursement to Jammu and Kashmir Government for Kashmiri migrants and border migrants, refugees from Sri Lanka, Tibet and former West and East Pakistan, relief and rehabilitation to North Eastern States of Tripura, Assam and Mizoram as well as enhanced compensation for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims. The Government had recently announced an additional Rs five lakh to about 3,325 victims of the 1984 riots. There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country which left Kashmir valley due to the start of militancy-terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s. Jaitley announced construction of 220 KV power transmission line from Srinagar to Leh via Kargil. 'The provision is for construction of 220 KV Transmission System for Alusteng (Srinagar) to Leh (via Drass, Kargil and Khaltsi 220-66 PGCIL substations) and 66 PGCIL interconnection system for Drass, Kargil, Khaltsi and Leh sub stations in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir,' the Finance Minister said. He also proposed a provision of Rs 10 crores for development of 'Other Crafts' in Jammu and Kashmir. It includes Infrastructure and Technology Development Projects and two new schemes namely Development of Other Crafts in J&K and setting up of Hast Kala Academy in New Delhi. Referring to 'Status of Implementation' of schemes announced in previous budget for 2015-16, Jaitley said 'the necessary estimates for conservation of Leh Palace in Ladakh have been prepared. Additional amount of Rs 20 crores has been provided as Cash Outgo for Archaeological Survey of India in first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2015-16'. However, contrary to expectations, Jammu and Kashmir has been left ignored in the general budget with no new projects announced for any of the three regions of the State. The PDP and BJP, the two former coalition partners, were expecting new projects to the State and some other significant announcements in the budget to give boost to their efforts for formation of Government once again in the State. 'A close look at the budget revealed that there was no mention of Jammu and Kashmir in the new projects or other major decisions announced by Jaitley though his initiatives for farmers and agriculture sector will, of course, benefit the rural population of the State, like other parts of the country,' political observers said. The observers, who were anticipating major bonanza for Jammu and Kashmir in the budget to clear decks for formation of new Government in the State, were of the view that efforts aimed at new Government could take further hit due to neglect of militancy-infested border State. Though the budget had mention of new tourism infrastructure development schemes like PRASAD and Swadesh Darshan under the Tourism Ministry, Border Management and Development Programme for Ministry of Home Affairs, Border Area Development Programme and other schemes and projects, there was no mention of Jammu and Kashmir in these schemes. Noting that there was vast scope for the Union Government to exploit tourism potential especially the religious tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, the political observers regretted that this aspect has completely been ignored in the budget. 'The tourist arrival has been drastically falling. The pilgrim tourism to both Mata Vaishno Devi ji and Shri Amarnath ji shrine has gone down during the previous years. The tourist circuits announced previously to attract pilgrim tourists were nowhere in the sight due to lack of funding,' the observers pointed out. They were of the view that there has been not much headway even in the previous announced projects by the Centre Government like two All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-one each for Jammu and Srinagar. Except for identifying the land at various places, the projects remained in doldrums.

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