Historically the budget proposals of Jammu and Kashmir have remained major exercises inciting a lot of interest for varied reasons. Earlier, the key focus would remain around the changes in the tax basket but the imposition of GST, a single uniformed tax, has evaporated that part of the interest. The people would also look at the proposals to see how the centre would behave in devolutions, grants and aides and where the focus of the public expenditure would remain.
After the August 2019 decision-making demolished the state structure, now the interest in the budget is restricted to understanding how differently, the centre wishes to plan its expenditure in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the governance level, though, the focus has always remained on one thing – the budget must be seen as trendsetting and huge. To most of the politicians, the size of the budget matters more than the quality of expenditure. So Nirmala Sitharaman’s second consecutive budget for Jammu and Kashmir is no different on those basic parameters.
Apparently, the focus of Sitharaman’s Rs 108621 crore budget is on jobs, good governance, socio-economic development, and infrastructure building. But the poetry of statistics is not very different from the prose of development narrative that predates Lok Sabha takeover of Jammu and Kashmir’s public spending – borrowings, surging debts, and the revenue expenditure scale remains almost unchanged.
For fiscal 2021-22, the Jammu and Kashmir has put a requirement of Rs 108621 crore. Of this, Rs 16276 crore is tax revenue that will come from within Jammu and Kashmir (Rs 10462 crore as GST, Rs 1650 crore as sales tax, Rs 1978 crore as excise duty and Rs 2186 crore as other taxes) and Rs 8209 crore is the non-tax revenue including Rs 5500 crore as power tariff receipts. The major chunk of funds, Rs 62656 crore will come from the central government as grants, share from taxes and other aids. Then the proposals suggest, the Jammu and Kashmir will raise another Rs 10,000 crore as part of its additional resources mobilisation during the years.
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