Monday, March 5, 2012

Jammu Kashmir 2012 Budget Highights

Liquor, tobacco rates up by 5 pc, toll increased
FM waives off VAT on LPG; keeps fertilizers, flour,
various other items free of tax for next FY
3 more Services brought under ambit of tax net
33,853 cr worth budget, ` 7300 cr plan, ` 700 cr PMRP
Industry, tourism concessions extended, ReT wages upped

Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather today proposed exemption of various items including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Valued Added Tax (VAT) and proposed tax extension on various other items like flour, paddy and fertilizers etc while going ahead with tax concessions to industry, hotels and tourism sectors for one more financial year (FY) i.e. up to March 31, 2013. Presenting general budget for financial year of 2012-13, which would come into force from April 1 this year when approved by both Houses of Legislature, Mr Rather announced increase in VAT on products of tobacco consumption from 25 per cent to 30 per cent, Sales Tax tag on liquor from 25 per cent to 30 per cent and brought security and placement services, pandal and shamiana services and annual maintenance contracts under the ambit of tax net. He proposed increase in the existing rate of toll. The Finance Minister proposed increase in the honorarium of Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers from ` 1500 per month to uniform level of ` 3000 per month and hiked remuneration of Nambardars and Chowkidars from ` 501 and 500 per month to ` 751 and ` 700 per month respectively.

He also proposed to exempt service tax on medical treatment, VAT on electric blankets, mini-hydel projects importing transmission equipment, building material and construction equipment from Entry Tax and all IT Institutes, IT coaching centres and IT educational institutions from the levy of tax under J&K General Sales Tax (GST) Act. He proposed modifications in existing rate of structure on stamp duty. He also announced a new package of incentives to benefit the tourism units. He completely exempted desktops, laptops etc and stationery items from the levy of VAT.

In his 81 minutes speech, which was listened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his Cabinet colleagues and former Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig and welcomed with thumping of desks occasionally by the treasury benches, the Finance Minister announced ` 33,853 crore worth budget for 2012-13 up from ` 31,022 crore of current financial year (2011-12). This year's budget was to the tune of ` 31,212 crore but the revised estimates have put it at ` 31,022 crore.

He projected State's annual plan for next financial year at ` 7300 crore, an increase of 10 per cent from ` 6600 crore of the current year and Prime Minister's Re-construction Plan (PMRP) at ` 700 crore down from ` 1200 crore of the current year.

News Agencies had today exclusively reported that the State's budget would be around ` 35,000 crore, annual plan at ` 7300 crore and PMRP about ` 800 crore. The budget was zero deficit.

In Legislative Council, Minister of State for Finance Dr Manohar Lal Sharma presented the budget.

The budget showed State’s increasing dependence on the Centre. In the State’s budget, 53 per cent funds were coming out of Central grants and 13 per cent from the share of Central taxes. Rest of the income included 16 per cent from own taxes, six per cent from non tax revenue and 12 per cent from capital receipts.

The State was spending 46 per cent on salaries and pensions of Government employees, eight per cent on payment of interest on account of Central debts, 9 per cent on power purchase, two per cent on security and 26 per cent on development. It spent 9 per cent on other resources including the Government’s own expenses.

The Finance Minister projected economy to grow at the rate of 7.5 per cent in 2012-13 as against 6.8 percent during the current fiscal year. He said the State had surpassed the target of 6.6 per cent growth rate for the current year. However, he admitted that the State lagged behind Per Capita Income, which was ` 28,932 in 2011-12 as against national PCI of ` 38005.

Out of ` 33,853 crore worth budget, the Government has proposed ` 24,990 crore as revenue expenditure, which included expenditure of the Government, and ` 8863 crore as capital expenditure including the development works.

Voicing concern over increasing revenue expenditure, Mr Rather said the State would have to incur a whopping amount of ` 16,140 crore on salaries, pensions and retirement benefits to the Government employees in the next financial year.

The Finance Minister said the State would be spending ` 3100 crore for purchasing power in 2012-13 as against ` 3000 crore this year. The purchase bill was put at ` 2400 crore this year initially. Revenue was expected around ` 1200 crore as against ` 1415 crore target this year. Next financial year’s target has been fixed at ` 1732 crore.

He said the State's tax revenue was expected to go up to ` 4800 crore during current financial year as against ` 3500 crore in the last fiscal year.

"Due to increase in the State's tax base and peace prevailing in the State, we want to percolate peace dividends among the people, which was the main reason for extending VAT exemptions, extension of benefits to industry and tourism sector, complete lifting of VAT on cooking gas and other items'', he added.

Pointing out that housewives have been weary of rising prices and keep on complaining that their home budget is going out of hands, Mr Rather announced complete removal of VAT on domestic cooking gas. He said the move would also ease pressure on Power Development Department (PDD) and demand for more energy supply will get reduced, an indirect reference to use of heaters for cooking purposes by the people.

According to market assessment, there was 5 per cent VAT on domestic cooking gas. With lifting of VAT, the price of LPG cylinder was expected to be reduced by about ` 22 from ` 428.50 to ` 406.50. However, there would be no reduction on 13.5 per cent VAT on LPG used for commercial purposes. The new rates would come into effect from April 1 this year.

The Finance Minister proposed to continue VAT exemption on atta, maida, suji, besan, paddy and rice etc till March 31, 2013. The VAT exemption on these items, announced in the last budget for one year, was due to expire on March 31, 2012.

He announced continuation of existing tax concession to the industrial units for a further period of one year till March 31, 2013 or till adoption of new General Sales Tax (GST) regime by the State, which happened earlier. He disclosed that tax concessions to the industry had been costing Rs 500 crore annually. The industrial units registered in the State had been enjoying tax concessions under relevant packages of incentives announced by the Government from time to time.

Mr Rather proposed no change in the status-quo for a further period of one year i.e. up to March 2013 in the concessions extended to tourism sector including hotels. The concessions were first announced on March 31, 2011 and then extended up to March 2012.

He proposed tax exemptions on all types of chemical fertilizers, bio fertilizers and micro nutrients from the levy of VAT. Noting that he has already exempted pesticides, weedicides and insecticides from the levy of VAT, the Finance Minister proposed exemption of all kind of fungicides from VAT. Presently, the fungicides attracted 13.5 per cent VAT.

He further proposed to exempt insurance services, which cover agricultural and horticultural crops and all types of cattle wealth including infrastructure of dairy, poultry, sheep, goats, bird units and fish farms from the tax chargeable under the J&K GST Act.

Noting that IT gadgets like desktops, laptops, palmtops etc have become popular among the youth but they still carried high price tag, Mr Rather proposed full exemption of VAT from computers and IT related items like desktops, laptops, palmtops, pen drives, CDs, memory cards, chips, headphones, computer cleaning kits, electronic diaries and IT peripherals.

He also proposed full exemption of VAT on stationery items used by students, which included adhesives, gums, glues, adhesive solutions, gum pastes, lapping compounds, epoxies, resins, tapes, tags, markers, sealing wax, papers envelops, pencils, crayons, highlighters, erasers, sharpeners, pencil boxes and ‘takhti’ etc. Some of these items were being taxed at the rate of 13.5 per cent and others at 5 per cent.

The Finance Minister proposed to exempt all power generation and transmission equipment, building material and construction equipments for the hydel projects, awarded under the Government policy of IPP mode, from the levy of tax under J&K Entry Tax Act.

"As a further incentive to such hydel projects in the private sector, the new policy also envisaged for exemption from the levy under the J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010, for a period of 10 years'', Mr Rather said.

He also proposed to exempt all IT institutes, IT coaching centres and IT educational institutions from the levy of tax under the J&K GST Act.

He proposed to remove all types of medical, diagnostic and curative services for humans as well as veterinary sector from the levy of tax under GST Act. He pointed out that medical services in the private sector including private hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres and pathological laboratories had to pay services tax at the rate of 10.5 per cent. He warned that he would be constrained to withdraw this concession if the benefits of the tax exemption were not passed on to the patients.

He also exempted electric blankets from the levy of 13.5 per cent VAT with a view to popularize its use and helping in the promotion of local industry.

The Finance Minister announced 100 per cent exemption from the levy of tax under the J&K GST Act in favour of registered industrial units in respect of `job works' done by them on behalf of other industrial units.

Proposing to continue with anti-tobacco campaign, Mr Rather announced a further increase in the rate of VAT on all tobacco products from 25 per cent to 30 per cent. He recalled that in his last budget he had announced an increase in toll on the import of raw tobacco from ` 150 per quintal to ` 250 per quintal and increase in VAT from 13.5 per cent to 25 per cent.

He also proposed enhancement of Sales Tax from 25 per cent to 30 per cent under J&K GST Act on sales of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), beer etc.

Recalling that last year he had added six more services to the list of Services covered by the J&K GST Act, the Finance Minister proposed to add three more Services under the tax net which included security and placement services, pandal and shamiana services and annual maintenance contracts.

In a significant decision, Mr Rather announced enhancement of ReT teachers' honorarium to uniform level of ` 3000 per month from the April 1, 2012. Presently, the ReT teachers were being paid ` 1500 per month for first two years and ` 2000 per month for remaining three years before they were regularized.

He also enhanced monthly remuneration of Nambardars and Chowkidars from ` 501 per month and ` 500 per month to ` 751 and ` 750 per month respectively from April 1, 2012.

He proposed increase of five paisa per kilogram in the existing rate of toll. He proposed constitution of a Grievances Redressal Committee comprising of concerned senior Government functionaries and representatives of trade bodies to undertake redress exercises periodically on taxation law, whose administration, he said, sometimes leads to conflicting interpretations and required a conciliatory effort.

Asserting that scientific research was essential for any economy to grow, Mr Rather proposed to exempt scientific equipment, critical chemicals and reagents, used by the Research and Development Institutes of the Central and the State Governments, functioning within the State, from the levy of Entry Tax.

Pointing out that raising of loans from commercial banks and registration of hypothecation deeds against such loans has become costly due to stamp duty, the Finance Minister said stamp duty on deeds of hypothecation will be reduced from current level of .5 percent to .25 per cent and shall be subject to a minimum of ` 1000 and a maximum limit of ` 50,000 in place of the present limit of ` 5 lakh.

"The stamp duty on equitable mortgage shall continue to be .25 per cent but will be subject to a minimum limit of ` 1000 and a maximum limit of ` 50,000 in place of existing upper limit of ` 5 lakh'', he announced.

The Finance Minister announced three measures to simplify the procedure for deduction of tax at sources from the amount collected through the Government departments under the provisions of J&K GST Act.

"The tax clearance certificates, which was required to be obtained afresh by the contractors for each NIT, shall remain valid for full financial year, security, which was equivalent to 10 percent of expected annual turnover, shall be waived off and registration renewal fee shall also be waived off'', he said.

Disclosing that about 100 soft loan cases extended to SCs, STs and Physically challenged groups were pending for settlement despite lapse of nearly two decades, Mr Rather proposed to settle all these long pending disputed cases through a special amnesty scheme, which would be worked out by the State Financial Corporation (SFC).

Mr Rather said he would increase the fund from ` 1 crore to ` 2 crore in Cancer Treatment and Management Fund. He said during last year ` 1.22 crore worth relief was provided to 444 needy and poor patients. Lauding the Government employees for their contribution towards the fund, the Finance Minister hoped that they would continue to donate generously to it.

He said under the ‘Beti Anmol Scheme’ announced last year, the Government proposed to fully exempt the girl students from making any contributions to the authorized Local Funds of the concerned Government higher secondary school, which would provide them financial relief between ` 600 to ` 900. The Scheme was confined to girl students reaching 11th class and belonging to BPL families living in educationally backward blocks.

He also proposed to exempt the female students from paying application fee and fee for appearing in competitive examinations of Public Service Commission and Services Selection Board. The scheme would be confined to the girls belonging to the BPL families.

Under Beti Anmol Scheme, the Government has proposed a cash incentive of ` 5000 FDR to all girl students from BPL families inhabiting 97 identified educationally backward blocks of the State, who successfully seek admission in 11th class. Mr Rather said 6000 girl students have been found eligible under the scheme and their number would go up to 10,000 during next financial year involving an expenditure of ` 5 crore.

The Finance Minister announced a series of incentives for tourism sector. The Government would expand and liberalise the list of areas and locations where the tourism units will be eligible to get incentives as per the new package, a capital outright investment subsidy of 30 per cent shall be given by the Government on fixed assets, created by new investments subject to a limit of ` 30 lakh, the limit on the amount of capital subsidy shall be increased to ` 100 lakh in case of prestigious units, which invest ` 25 crore or more, the capital subsidy shall also be available on substantial expansion by the existing units, which make at least one third addition to their existing bed capacity, remission of stamp duty on mortgages up to ` 50,000, 60 per cent subsidy on insurance cover, 75 per cent subsidy on DG sets, 40 per cent capital subsidy for Paying Guest Houses, 50 per cent subsidy on equipments for adventure tourism, kitchen, related appliances, tourist coaches, air conditioning and office automation and reimbursement of 50 per cent cost for training of managerial personnel.

On Kashmiri migrants, Mr Rather said out of 5,242 two-room tenements, meant for the migrants, 4,876 flats have been completed and the remaining units shall be completed in the current financial year at a total estimated cost of ` 484 crore.

"A sum of ` 140 crore was kept as the provision for meeting the salary expenditure of the migrant employees. I propose to increase it to ` 189 crore in the current year to provide for the payment of first installment of the arrears of pay revision. For the budgetary estimates, the proposed figure is Rs 171 crore. Additionally, an expenditure of ` 104 crore is proposed to meet the requirement on cash assistance for the Kashmiri migrant families'', he added.

The Finance Minister said Rs 76 crore are expected to be incurred on the scheme of the return and rehabilitation of the migrants in the current financial year. The next year's provision has been kept at ` 130 crore. He kept a provision of ` 8 crore in the budget for medical insurance scheme for the migrants.

On State Government employees, Mr Rather said their House Rent Allowance has been brought at par with Central Government employees costing ` 70 crore during current fiscal year and would cost Rs 110 crore in 2012-13. The Hardship Allowance in favour of police personnel would cost ` 122 crore during ongoing financial year and a budgetary provision of ` 129 crore has been kept for next year, he added.

The Finance Minister pegged the next year's total receipts and expenditure at ` 33,853 crore each.

"The total revenue receipts were estimated at ` 29,948 crore based on the anticipated scheme of financing of the plan. These figures may undergo some variation when our plan outlay and its scheme of financing are finalized by the Planning Commission'', he said, adding that the share of Central taxes is indicated at the level of ` 4,245 crore, as against the revised estimates (RE) of ` 3,691 crore in the current financial year.

"The total non-plan grants from the Centre have been placed at ` 4,496 crore, against the RE figure of ` 4,858 crore in the current financial year, inclusive of the non-plan revenue gap grant under the Award of the 13th Finance Commission'', Mr Rather said.

He added that tax revenue of the State, which was likely to touch ` 4,800 crore in the current financial year, was estimated to grow to ` 5,419 crore in the next financial year of 1012-13.

"This would mean a targeted growth of over 29.5 percent in comparison to the current year's budget estimates of ` 4,183 crore'', he asserted.

The Finance Minister said the VAT and GST collections by the Commercial Taxes Department have been targeted at ` 3,940 crore for 2012-13 as against the current financial year's budgetary estimates of ` 3,025 crore, an increase of ` 915 crore and growth rate of 30 per cent.

He pegged taxes from Goods & Passengers Tax at Rs 461 crore, as against the current financial year's target of ` 382 crore.

"Collection of excise duties has been projected at ` 404 crore, as against the current year's ` 333 crore while collections on account of stamp duty & registration fee have been projected at ` 152 crore. The target for electricity duty has been kept at ` 306 crore, corresponding to the revenue target of ` 1,732 crore given to the Power Development Department'', Mr Rather said.

The Finance Minister put the total non-tax revenue targets at ` 2,118 crore. A revenue target of ` 1,732 crore was proposed to be assigned to the Power Development Department, against their revised target of ` 1,486 crore in the current financial year. Other major targets of non-tax revenue were Forestry & Wildlife ` 65 crore, Mines and Minerals ` 45 crore, Water Supply & Sanitation ` 37 crore and expected dividend, mainly from Jammu and Kashmir Bank at ` 70 crore.

Out of ` 33,853 crore budget, Mr Rather has classified ` 24,990 crore, as revenue expenditure and ` 8,863 crore as capital expenditure. The capital expenditure comprised ` 7,028 crore on account of the plan and ` 1,835 crore on account of non-plan.

Out of the total revenue expenditure, Mr Rather classified ` 23,548 crore as non-plan revenue expenditure and ` 1,442 crore as plan revenue expenditure.

The Finance Minister said out of the total revenue expenditure, salaries of the Government employees accounted for the biggest chunk, estimated to reach in 2012-13 at ` 13,115 crore, inclusive of the provision of ` 700 crore for fresh DA installments, a plan salary component of ` 369 crore and grants-in-aid of ` 658 crore.

The expenditure on pensions including other retirement benefits, was estimated at ` 3,025 crore.

The total expenditure on salaries & pensions will, therefore, rise to ` 16,140 crore during the next financial year, he added.

He said a provision of ` 3,100 crore has been proposed in the next year's budget estimates for the purchase of energy, as against the current financial year's revised estimates of ` 3,000 crore.

"The expenditure on account of interest payment against loans has been estimated at ` 2,663 crore in comparison to the revised estimates figure of ` 2,538 crore in the current financial year'', the Finance Minister said.

On grants-in-aid to the Local Bodies, he disclosed that autonomous organizations and other institutions accounted for ` 658 crore. The maintenance and repairs of assets was expected to involve an expenditure of ` 289 crore while a sum of ` 116 crore has been proposed on account of honorarium to SPOs and VDCs.

While projecting the State's annual plan at ` 7300 crore for 2012-13, up from current year's ` 6600 crore and PMRP at ` 700 crore, Mr Rather said the Planning Commission of India was yet to formally determine the size of the 12th Five Year Plan, which, when finalized, will also give us a firm idea about the likely size of our successive annual plans for the coming five years. However, the expectation of around 10 per cent step up in the next year's plan size will be reasonable. As such, the State Government has worked out its plan proposal based on a total outlay of ` 7,300 crore for the next financial year.

"We have requested the Planning Commission to continue the Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan till we complete the ongoing projects taken up under it. Accordingly, we are projecting a requirement of ` 700 crore under PMRP during the next financial year, over and above the annual plan outlay. The main schemes, included in the PMRP, to be funded out of the proposed allocation are Power Transmission, Mughal Road, Counterpart Funds for the World Bank funded schemes under ERA, completion of two room tenements for Kashmiri Migrants and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers.

"A provision of about Rs 1,000 crore, out of the total outlay, is being kept as the State share under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes to enable us to access around ` 2,500 crore from the various Ministries of the Central Government, over and above the State Plan'', Mr Rather said.

He added that in the annual plan, the Government proposed a provision of ` 541 crore for the schemes to be covered under the Agriculture and Rural Development sector. Under the Social Services Sector, including Health, Education, Water Supply and Social Welfare, "we have proposed an allocation of ` 2,532 crore to take care of the ongoing schemes as well as the expansion programmes. Irrigation & Flood Control gets a share of ` 447 crore. The Energy Sector accounted for ` 455 crore. The Transport sector, including R&B, accounted for ` 832 crore. General Economic Services, including Tourism and the Special Area Development Programme, would receive ` 1,231 crore. Industries & Minerals get ` 153 crore and General Services are proposed to be given a share of ` 706 crore. Under Special Area Programmes, ` 396 crore are proposed to be spent''.

The Finance Minister said all 20 districts, which had literacy percentage below 50 per cent, would be covered under the total literacy campaign of 'Saakshar Bharat Mission'. He added that Rs 530 crore would be incurred as the State share under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.

The Finance Minister said the construction of 11 new degree colleges under the State sector and 11 Model Degree Colleges under 50:50 Centrally Sponsored Schemes is in progress. Besides, the construction of 10 degree colleges under PMRP is also underway. "An expenditure of ` 191 crore is proposed under the plan, inclusive of ` 145 crore on the capital component''.

He added that 18 new Polytechnic Colleges are being established and 27 ITIs are under upgradation. For the next fiscal, a sum of ` 20 crore has been proposed to be kept for the ongoing and new works to be taken up for skill impartation and up-gradation.

The Finance Minister said a sum of ` 321 crore was proposed to be spent as the State plan component on various irrigation schemes. Additionally, ` 400 crore were expected to come under AIBP and NABARD funding, he added..

He proposed ` 562 crore for PHE to cover 1414 habitations for potable drinking water during next financial year.

On R&B, the Finance Minister said during the current fiscal 799 kms of roads have been completed till January, 2012. The Department has also completed 45 bridges in the current financial year by January, 2012. Next year, the proposed outlay for the R&B Sector was ` 682 crore.

"For the next financial year, the total proposed plan investment in Agriculture sector was ` 343 crore and Rural Development sector, ` 198 crore. Additionally, funds shall also be available under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes like 'RKVY', 'Technology Mission' and other schemes from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Rural Development of the Central Government. The focus of the department is on the improvement of the Seed Replacement Rate, timely and adequate supply of agriculture inputs, farm mechanization, post harvest facilities and marketing in all the key sub-sectors, including horticulture, sericulture, vegetables and commercial floriculture'', Mr Rather said.

He added that for the Super Specialty Hospital at Jammu, 819 posts have been created with a view to make it fully functional. Additionally, 483 posts have been created for the Emergency Block and Pediatric Hospital at Jammu. For the Institute of Traumatology and the Nursing College at Srinagar, 1040 posts have been created. Additional expenditure on the salaries for these posts would be around ` 100 crore per annum. A total expenditure of ` 366 crore was proposed to be incurred in the Health and Medical Education sector during the next financial year, exclusive of the funds available under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes like 'NRHM', Mr Rather said.

He added that the next year's allocation under the Housing and Urban Development sector has been proposed at ` 311 crore, excluding the funds, which would be available under the 'JNNURM'. An additional provision of Rs 369 crore shall be available for 'ERA'. ` 124 crore were proposed for Tourism sector while the industrial sector accounted for ` 153 crore. In the Forest and Environmental sector, a sum of ` 42 crore has been proposed, exclusive of the allocations available under the 13th Finance Commission Award. A total of ` 212 crore of plan grants would be available under the Award for various development activities.

Mr Rather put next year's target of utilization of the Seed Capital Fund under Sher-I-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for Youth at ` 50 crore, involving a targeted 3,000 entrepreneurs and including off-bank financing of unemployed youth under the newly launched 'Youth Start-up Loan Scheme'.

"About 32,000 unemployed educated youth have been brought under the purview of the Voluntary Service Allowance. An expenditure of ` 40 crore has been anticipated under the 'VSA' scheme during the next financial year'', the Finance Minister said.

The programme of skill development for the youth has been taken up in a Mission Mode to prepare our youth to get skilled and highly skilled jobs in the growing, but highly competitive, job markets.

"The Government has fast tracked the recruitment process against the vacancies, arising in various Government departments from time to time. During the last three years, selection of over 39,000 educated youth has been made by the PSC, J&K SSB and the Police Recruitment Board. This figure excluded a very large number of educated youth, engaged under 'NRHM', 'Rehbar-e-Taleem' and other schemes, which are outside the purview of our recruitment agencies, meant for making selections for regular appointments under the State Government'', Mr Rather said.

He added that a plan provision of ` 148 crore has been proposed for the next year for Kargil and Leh districts. A sum of ` 125 crore was proposed to be spent exclusively in the border blocks under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP). A provision of ` 194 crore was being made for the Constituency Development Fund.

The Finance Minister said the next year's plan outlay included a sum of ` 40 crore under the Tribal Sub-Plan, a sum of ` 18 crore for the welfare of Gujjars & Bakerwals, ` 16 crore for Pahari speaking people, ` 21 crore for Scheduled Castes and OBCs and a sum of ` 49 crore under the 'Rashtriya Shram Vikas Yojana'. Additionally, a provision of ` 139 crore has been made for the two Directorates of Social Welfare for executing Women and Child Development Schemes.

He said an amount of ` 125 crore has been authorized during the current year under Border Area Development Programme (BADP). During the current financial year, "we have made a beginning by releasing an additionality of ` 11.64 crore for taking up developmental projects in the identified areas. I propose to carry forward this process during the ensuing year and announce a special provision of ` 50 crore for such areas over and above the likely BADP allocation of ` 125 crore and the 'Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF)' allocation of ` 52 crore.

Mr Rather said the Government has saved an interest expenditure of around ` 200 crore so far in the current financial year through the new arrangement of `Ways and Means' adopted with the Reserve Bank of India. The J&K Bank made record profits and declared an all time high dividend of 260% to its shareholders. The amount of dividend disbursed, included a sum of ` 67 crore paid to the State Government as its majority share-holder, he added.

The Finance Minister said the Government has sanctioned a sum of ` 22 crore as additional share capital in favour of the State Financial Corporation in the current financial year. Additionally, a sum of ` 14 crore, reflected as the unpaid dividend amount to the State Government, accrued under the statute, has also been converted into paid up share capital of the Corporation.

"We hope to contribute an additional capital of ` 25 crore towards the authorized share capital of the Corporation in order to clear all its past liabilities towards SIDBI. These measures will strengthen the Corporation's claims on funds to the extent of ` 150 crore for the revival of its activities, as recommended by the Prime Minister's Task Force on MSME, and, subsequently, also supported by the Prime Minister's Expert Group on the generation of employment for the youth in Jammu and Kashmir.

He proposed a sum of ` 75 crore as budgetary support for the Public Sector Enterprises for the next financial year. The provision included a sum of ` 26 crore to take care of claims under VRS/GHS.

Mr Rather said in terms of the latest available figures, the GSDP of the State for the year 2008-09 was ` 42,315 crore at current prices. It rose to ` 48,197 crore during the year 2009-10. During the year 2010-11, the GSDP further rose to ` 54,731 crore. The current year's Advance Estimate has projected the GSDP figure at ` 62,365 crore.

"All these figures are based on the revised para-meters of the Central Statistical Office (CSO), adopted by it at the national level. At constant prices (base 2004-05), the corresponding GSDP figures worked out at ` 34,664 crore for the year 2008-09, ` 36, 329 crore for the year 2009-10, ` 38,739 crore for the year 2010-11 and ` 41, 367 crore for the current financial year'', he added.

The Finance Minister said the 13th Finance Commission had given the State a target of achieving fiscal deficit of 5.3% for the year 2010-11. On the basis of our GSDP figures, the actual fiscal deficit for the last year came to 4.3%.

"The current year's Union budget had assumed a growth rate of 8.5%. This figure is now estimated to come down to 6.9%, as per the latest reports. In comparison, the growth rate of our GSDP at constant prices for the current financial year was worked out at 6.8% in comparison to 6.6%, estimated in last March at the time of the presentation of the current year's budget'', the Finance Mini.

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