Annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2023-24 has been finalized by the Union Finance Ministry and it is likely to be presented in Lok Sabha on opening day of the session on March 13 when the Parliament resumes after one-month break. However, presentation of the budget can be delayed by a couple of days if there is uproar in the Parliament by the Opposition parties.
“In any case, the budget will be presented next week,” officials told the Excelsior.
They said the budget has been given final touches by the Union Finance Ministry in consultations with Finance Department of Jammu and Kashmir and it is now almost ready for presentation in the Parliament.
“If everything goes well, the budget is likely to be presented in the Parliament on opening day of the session after one-month long break i.e. March 13. The delay of couple of days can occur if the Opposition disrupts the Parliament as expected on a host of issues,” the officials said.
They added that on their part both the Finance Ministry as well as Jammu and Kashmir administration have completed nearly six-month long exercise for preparation of the budget. The exercise has concluded and the budget is ready for presentation, they said, adding it will be fourth straight budget of Jammu and Kashmir which will be presented in the Parliament in the absence of Legislature in the Union Territory.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Jammu and Kashmir’s budget in Lok Sabha. Then, it will be debated in both Houses of the Parliament. The budget has to be approved before March 31 and it will come into force on April 1.
Sources said a day each are likely to be fixed for discussion on Jammu and Kashmir budget in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Already the Finance Department officials have held series of meetings with top officials in the Union Finance Ministry to discuss budgetary proposals of the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
Prior to this, the Finance Department held series of meetings with various departments to know their requirements in the budget for next financial year.
This will be fourth consecutive budget of Jammu and Kashmir which will be presented in the Parliament in the absence of Legislative Assembly in the Union Territory. Annual budgets of J&K for 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 were also presented in the Parliament.
The budget for 2019-2020 was adopted by the then State Administrative Council (SAC) here while budget of 2018-19 was last to be presented in the Assembly of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir by then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu before the Government collapsed after withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition Government by the BJP in June 2018 followed by withdrawal of special status of erstwhile State of J&K on August 5, 2019 by the Central Government and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
“Till there is an elected Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, the UT’s budgets will continue to be presented in the Parliament,” sources said.
During current financial year of 2022-23, Jammu and Kashmir was granted Rs 1,12,950 crore worth budget and for next fiscal year of 2023-24 it could go up to Rs 1.2 lakh crore.
“Healthy grant for DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats will lead to further development in rural areas,” sources pointed out.
The Union Home Ministry has major say in budget of the Union Territories. This is more so in cases of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as it has to spend a lot on Security Related Expenditure (SRE) due to three decades long militancy.
Describing around Rs 1.2 lakh crore worth budget for Jammu and Kashmir as “quite significant”, sources said this will help in boosting infrastructure development across the Union Territory. (Daily Excelsior)