Budgetary allocations for J&K for 2023-2024 fail to cater to needs of people: NC

Srinagar, Mar 14 (PTI) The National Conference (NC) on Tuesday said the budgetary allocations for Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2023-2024 have “failed” to cater to the needs of people.

Reacting to the budgetary allocations for J-K, NC state spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said it is all “flamboyance and wordplay”.

“There is nothing for unemployed youth. No blueprint on job creation for youth. We have lakhs of unemployed youths in J-K. There was not even a single word about addressing the plight of contractual, daily wagers and need based employees,” he said.

Dar said there is no ray of hope for the unemployed and skilled youth as “they have been forsaken.”

The budget is the fifth budget in a row which was not passed by the elected legislature of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

“The exercise itself raises a question why an entire populace of nearly 1.40 crore people continue to remain without a representative assembly. An elected Assembly could have discussed and ascertained the needs and aspirations of the people of J-K before tabling annual budgetary allocations and estimates,” Dar said.

“It is again for the fifth time that the concerned stakeholders were not consulted before the tabling of the budget,” he added.

The NC spokesperson said there is nothing substantial in the budget for the horticulture sector of J-K.

“We expected them to announce a waiver on the KCC loans and bring down the GST rates on packaging items. Their claims of boosting horticulture and other allied sectors have remained restricted to statements only. No steps have been taken to augment fruit processing infrastructure either,” he said.

There is no handholding of artisans, marginal traders, transporters, hawkers, and start-ups, he said, adding the budget has failed to fulfill the needs and aspirations of all the stakeholders across J-K.

Ruing the “failure” of the government in upgrading the connectivity of Kashmir with the rest of the country, the party said there is nothing substantial for the upgradation and augmentation of Mughal road, Kishtwar-Sinthan road, Sadna top, and other road projects.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented in the Lok Sabha a Rs 1.18 lakh crore budget for Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2023-24 with a thrust on providing housing in rural areas and water tap connections to 18.36 lakh households.

Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary tabled the budget for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The budget assures to double the UT’s GDP within five years and has themes of good governance; strengthening grassroots democracy; promoting sustainable agriculture; facilitating investment and industrial growth; employment generation; accelerated development and inclusive growth; and women empowerment and social inclusion.