Political consensus emerging for JK’s economic roadmap: Drabu

Jammu, Jan 30   Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu today said he is seeing political consensus emerging for delineating a viable economic roadmap for the state.

“As had happened at the national level in 1991, prior to economic liberalisation, a broader political consensus is emerging in Jammu and Kashmir to put in place a viable economic framework, a robust fiscal management structure and a doable budgetary policy,” Drabu said.

He was speaking while replying to the discussion on demand for grants of the Finance and Labour and Employment Departments.

He said the fiscal policies introduced during the past three years are aimed at bringing stabilisation in the state’s economy and reduce volatility for economic revival through enhanced investments, public expenditure and widening the net of socio-economic security.

Drabu said the key structural reforms like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are establishing mechanisms for efficient fiscal management besides enhancing transparency.

“48 per cent cumulative growth, including reimbursements by the Centre, has been recorded in tax collection post implementation of GST in the state, with registered revenue growth of 25.33 per cent,” he informed the house.

Elaborating, he said that after the implementation of GST and up to the month of December 2017, the Commercial Taxes Department registered a cumulative growth of 25.33 percent by collecting revenue of Rs 5,466.41 crore for the period April to December 2017 against Rs 4,361.57 crore for April to December 2016.

Responding to the concerns regarding GST, the finance minister said that GST regime is continuously evolving with inputs from all states to make the country ‘One Unified Common Market’.

He said that GST Council with active participation of Jammu and Kashmir has made a large number of changes by way of reduction of rates, simplification of procedures and relaxation/extension in filing of returns to mitigate the difficulties of business fraternity.

The state government has also made various concessions under the new tax regime aimed to boost the industrial sector and also to provide them level playing field for setting up of industries in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

Drabu announced that the Pay and Accounts Office Systems will be rolled out in a few weeks and asserted that it will be the biggest reform instrumental in rooting out corruption from the system.

Further, it will reduce/eliminate public interface with the treasury staff and would bring transparency, he added.

“We are moving steadily towards digitisation and will be 100 per cent Direct Benefit Transfer compliant in the near future,” he said.

He announced that a new expenditure management system is on anvil under which separate allocations will be made for capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar and remaining districts to ensure equitable development in the state.

With regards to the employee welfare initiatives, he said the government was committed for the welfare of its employees and has announced implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations from April 1, 2018, which will be effective from January 1, 2016.

Besides this, release of 1 per cent Dearness Allowance due to the employees from July 1, 2017 was also announced in Budget 2018-19.

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