SRINAGAR: There has been mixed reaction in Jammu and Kashmir to the maiden budget presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with PDP welcoming special funding for various initiatives in the State while Congress described it as “cosmetic exercise”.
“The union budget presented by Jaitley is states-centric and gender-friendly,” opposition PDP’s president and MP Mehbooba Mufti and Tariq Karra, MP said in a joint statement.
Jaitley today announced Rs 500 crore package for migrant Kashmiri Pandits, IIT for Jammu, Rs 30 crores for Pashmina Wool Dev scheme in Kashmir and 20 crores for promotion of handicrafts besides ultra mega solar power projects for Ladakh.
While welcoming the proposal to set up IIT in Jammu, the PDP leaders demanded that an IIM be established in Kashmir so that the youth in the Valley don’t feel a sense of neglect.
Hailing the initiatives like dedicated funding for sports and Pashmina development in Jammu and Kashmir and allocation of funds for rehabilitation of migrants, the PDP MPs said that if put together with the annual plan allocation of Rs 7000 crore, J&K will be getting not more than Rs 7800 crore allocation while on the other hand the allocation for northeastern states is a whopping Rs 53000 crores.
They demanded funding for the development of the state on the pattern of northeast.
J&K Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, however, termed the budget as a “cosmetic exercise” without any new initiative.
“There is nothing new in the budget for the common man and only cosmetic approach to the existing economic system. BJP’s claim to give new direction to the economy of the country is missing from the Budgetary Proposal rather their appears thrust on FDI of which BJP had been opposing in one or the other form,” he said.
Sharma said rehabilitation package for migrant Kashmiri Pandits is right step and an extension of the past initiatives in this regard but other suffering sections like West Pakistan Refugees of 1947, Displaced Persons of 1965 and 1971 have been left and border residents have not received attention of the NDA government who were extended a lot of assurances during election campaign.
The traders and business community in Kashmir said there is nothing in the budget for Kashmir and industrial sector in the Valley.
They said it is disappointing that two major projects given to J&K in the budget have been given to Jammu and Ladakh while Kashmir has been ignored.
Jammu based party National Panthers Party chief and Supreme court lawyer, Bhim Singh described the budget as highly discriminatory with the rural folk, unemployed youth, farmers and the working class in India.
“The union government has failed to redress the problems of unemployed educated youth. The budget does not provide any strategy or plan for the promotion of international tourism in India which is capable to earn half of its total income of the budget. The discriminatory taxing and VAT continues to be charged even on drinking water in India,” he said.
Singh said NDA has proved that it is working only for corporate sector which financed the election campaign of Modi and his party.