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Jammu and Kashmir received huge central funding yet development remained a far cry

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New Delhi, Aug 8, 2019-

As Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated and converted into two Union Territories, a major aspect highlighted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah was that the erstwhile state had failed to witness the required development despite huge amounts of central funds and subsidies to the tune of around Rs 2,74,000 crore being pumped there over decades.

The state has been receiving subsidies and central grants under various heads, including for promotion of industry and tourism, creation of infrastructure and betterment of healthcare services.

The central assistance generally accounted for nearly 55 per cent of the total revenues and around 45 per cent of expenditure of the state. And there have been allegations by leaders of Jammu and Ladakh that most of the central funds were usurped by leaders in Kashmir Valley and did not reach their provinces.

This, in fact, was a major reason behind the long-standing demand in Ladakh for grant of Union Territory status by delinking the cold desert region from Kashmir. The people of Ladakh have been maintaining that their region could not witness development as “Kashmir-centric” governments in Srinagar did not provide adequate funds.

Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a young BJP MP from Ladakh, articulated the same sentiment in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and said that the abolition of applicability of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir would hurt mainly “two families”, an inference to Abdullahs and Muftis.

Even in Kashmir and Jammu, common people have been complaining that the benefits of central schemes and funds do not reach them.

Shah, while speaking in the Lok Sabha, said the Modi government decided to adopt the “new” approach of bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir and ending its special status as the old approach has not helped in its development despite huge amounts being provided by the Centre over decades.

Though Shah did not provide the breakup of the Rs 2,74,000 crore sent to Jammu and Kashmir, two packages to the tune of Rs 1,08,000 crore were announced for the state within the last 15 years.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a huge single package of Rs 80,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir.

Half of it was meant for building of road infrastructure and development of highways while Rs 7,854 crore was for relief and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the unprecedented floods of 2014, Rs 2,241 crore was meant for tourism promotion and Rs 4,900 crore was for healthcare development. Other funds were for various other development projects.

Earlier, in 2004, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a package of Rs 28,000 crore for the state.

Over the decades, the state has also received thousands of crores of rupees for Dal Development Programmes but the iconic lake in Srinagar continues to be in a mess.

Under the Security-Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme for police, introduced in 1989-90 for supporting the logistical requirements of the police force of J&K to combat militancy, the Centre provides 100 per cent reimbursement of expenditure. Of the amount, 60 per cent is reimbursed upfront on receipt of claims and the remaining 40 per cent is released after receipt of audit report.

According to the Home Ministry data, reimbursements under this head included Rs 1185 crore in 2016-17, Rs 330 crore in 2015-16, Rs 290 crore in 2014-15, Rs 286.80 crore in 2013-14, Rs 259.78 crore in 2012-13, Rs 342.27 in 2011-12, Rs 457.78 crore in 2010-11, Rs 166.07 crore in 2009-10, Rs 396.42 crore in 2008-09, Rs 163.07 crore in 2007-08, Rs 167.53 crore in 2006-07, Rs 115.76 crore in 2005-06, Rs 147.63 crore in 2004-05, Rs 245.94 crore in 2003-04, Rs 226.28 crore in 2002-03, Rs 249.71 crore in 2001-02 and Rs 196.38 crore in 2000-01.

The Union Home Ministry also provides assistance under SRE scheme for Relief and Rehabilitation, which broadly covers relief to displaced Kashmiri Pandits, expenditure incurred on PM’s package for their return and rehabilitation, relief to families of civilians /security personnel killed in militant related attacks and rehabilitation of surrendered militants.

Under this, the reimbursements included Rs 374.42 crore in 2016-17, Rs 245.34 crore in 2015-16, Rs 160 crore in 2014-15, Rs 151.87 crore in 2013-14, Rs 94.90 crore in 2012-13, Rs 111.59 crore in 2011-12, Rs 60 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 120 crore in 2009-10.

Jammu and Kashmir also has been receiving central funds under the UDAAN scheme which aims at providing skills and enhance employability of unemployed youth who are graduate, post graduate or three-year engineering diploma holders. The total budget of the scheme, approved by the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on July 7, 2011, is Rs 1000 crore, out of which the Union Home Ministry’s share is Rs 750 crore.

Central funds are also provided under other schemes like Civic Action Plan and Other Social Services.

In 2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pointed out “serious financial regularities” in the state.

Highlighting major errors in aspects like budgeting, savings and excess expenditure, the government auditor had said that “anticipated savings were either not surrendered or surrendered at the end of the year, leaving no scope for utilising these funds for other development purposes.”  (Agency)

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