New pension scheme, stipendary-mode engagements imperative: Rather

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 2/13/2014 11:27:31 PM

`Adhoc provision for administrative units in budget'

JAMMU, Feb 13: Admitting that power deficit was still a grey area for J&K, the Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather Wednesday stated that for creation of 659 new administrative units recently approved by the state cabinet, adhoc provision was kept in the budget.
“Adhoc provision and not the permanent has been kept because the Finance and Planning departments have been asked to work out financial implications on account of creation of administrative units. Once they roll out the financial implications, the final figures will be given for amount to be released for creation of new administrative units,” Rather said.
Addressing media after presenting J&K Budget 2014-15 in the Legislative Assembly this morning, he also said that stipendiary mode of engagement and New Pension Scheme were imperative for J&K’s economy.
Rather stressed that for additional resources mobilization and revenue increase, his policy was not to impose new taxes but to improve tax recovery management. The Finance minister said that tax revenue in the state witnessed 33 percent increase during the span of last five years of the present coalition government. He said the tax revenue which was just Rs 2600 Cr in 2009 was expected to increase to Rs 7500 Cr during the next fiscal.
He said this steep increase in tax revenue, without levying new taxes became possible due to the better tax management and plugging of loopholes in tax collection system, adding that he had been convening periodic review meetings of the department under his charge regularly to assess performance and ensure better budget management and fiscal discipline.
In response to a query pertaining to a claim made in the budget speech that all the legacy issues vis-a-vis major financial burden stood sorted out quite satisfactorily, he said, “Problems mentioned pertaining to mounting fiscal deficit, loss of financial benefits, implementation of recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission were sorted out despite economic slowdown,” he said.
On account of ouster of daily wagers, he said that only those appointed in an unauthorized manner were ousted.
Replying to queries about stipendiary mode of engagement and New Pension Scheme, the Finance Minister said that these initiatives were imperative for J&K’s economy and were aimed at containing burgeoning non-plan expenditure besides creating more employment avenues for the educated un-employed youth. He added that pension scheme was introduced across the country.
Rather said that the government was actively considering establishing press housing colonies in the state. He assured that the DA arrear instalments to pensioners would be cleared by March 31, 2014.
Earlier detailing about highlights of the budget, he stated that the performance of the state, on account of tax collection and budget management, was lauded by every relevant forum at the national level including Planning Commission of India (PC), Finance Commission, Union Finance Ministry and the State’s Principal Accountant General. “Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in unambiguous terms patted the state for its internal resources mobilization initiatives,” Rather added. He said it had been the coalition government’s endeavour during last five years not to levy any tax burden on the people not, withstanding economic inflation at the national level. He said that due to effective implementation of Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act (FRBM), the state had been able to be within the ambit of targets assigned by the Planning Commission. He added that the state was well ahead of Centre in minimizing its fiscal deficit as per the assigned targets in this regard. He said economic growth rate of the state was also better as compared to national figure, adding that the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers appreciated the state for bringing improvements in budget management and fiscal discipline.
Briefing about the tax concessions given to various sectors, Rather said that the agriculture sector had been made more or less tax free. He said both entry tax and toll tax on fertilizers, fungicides and weedicides, which were considered important agriculture inputs, were exempted. He said that for the first time horticulture sector especially apple, pear, cherry, which would come under cash crops were being brought under the ambit of Insurance cover besides the concessions granted to industry, trade and tourism sectors would continue for the next fiscal. He said an amount of Rs 3.50 Cr had been earmarked for Women Development Corporation to set-up 100 more Self Help Groups (SHG) comprising 44,000 women which is expected to go a long way in upgrading the living standard of women folk. He said a provision of Rs. 3 crore has been made in the Budget for marriage of orphan girls belonging to BPL families whereas the coverage of Beti Anmol was extended from existing 97 blocks to all blocks. The amount to be paid for getting higher education by the poor girl candidates too was increased from Rs 5000 to Rs. 10,000 under this scheme. He said the tourism incentive package which was expiring on December 31, 2014 would be extended up to March 2015 whereas stamp duty exemption on KCC was increased from Rs 1.50 lakhs to Rs 3 lakh. This concession would also be available to the Artisan Credit Cards, he added.
Rather said the VAT remission for industry would continue for another year whereas cashless system of VAT remission on purchase of raw material made from SICOP would be adopted from the next year. Similarly, the Hotel tariff tax exemption would continue up to March 2015. He said Rs 1.40 Cr had been earmarked for help to HIV/AIDS cases and Rs 2 Cr for the Cancer Treatment Management Fund.



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