The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly today passed the Rs 95,666.97 crore budget for 2018- 19 with 20 percent rise in the budget size over this year.
The Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bill-2018 moved by the Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu in the House in this regard was passed with voice-vote.
For the first time in state’s legislative history, the Finance minister has linked the appropriation bill with wide-ranging expenditure reforms to ensure checks and balances for efficient fiscal management and speed up spending to make productive use of resources for the larger public good.
Drabu on January 11 had presented the budget proposals for 2018-19 in the House, comprising a revenue component of Rs 51,244.72 crore and capital component of Rs 44,422.24 crore.
Enumerating the fiscal reforms factored in the appropriation bill this year, Drabu said the finance and the planning, development and monitoring departments would release both revenue and capital budget to all the departments within two weeks of the passage of the appropriation bill.
The administrative departments would, in turn, ensure release of funds to the subordinate offices within four weeks of their receipt, failing which these funds would be deemed to have been transferred to the intended drawing and disbursing offices on the dates they ought to have been released by the administrative departments or controlling officers.
“The planning development and monitoring department will ensure that all plan allocations to be made in the next fiscal bear proper classification, indicating name of the work or scheme against detailed head-115 works,” he said adding in the absence of the schematic classification, the relevant Capex release shall be deemed as invalid and not open to operationalisation.
The Finance minister said no payments would be made by any Treasury or Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) from April 01, under any expenditure head, if the releases for the same have not been made and further received by the spending and bill passing officers via Budget Estimation Allocation Management System (BEAMS).
“Treasury Officers/PAOs shall be personally liable for making payments on the funds released and received bypassing the BEAMS application,” he said.
He said the procurement plans of the departments for the next fiscal would be limited by an outermost cap of 60 days, starting April 01.
“Any spill-over in timelines shall be automatically visited with the appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Drabu said the state share of the centrally-sponsored schemes and the expenditure to be incurred on utility shifting and land compensation under PMDP projects would be the first charge on the funds lapsing to the government during the last quarter.
The Finance minister made it clear that there shall be, henceforth, no engagement of casual workers and need-based workers by any department.
“The Planning, Monitoring and Development department shall, invariably, condition all developmental/plan releases to the departments to the unconditional vouchsafing by the latter that they shall refrain from making fresh engagements,” he said.
Drabu said it is reassuring to note that a broader political consensus is emerging in Jammu and Kashmir to put in place a viable economic framework, a robust fiscal management structure and an achievable budgetary policy.
He said the fiscal reforms introduced over the past three years are aimed at bringing stabilization in the state’s economy and reduce volatility for economic revival through enhanced investments, public expenditure and widening the net of socio-economic security.