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J&K finance minister submits economic survey report

Structural interventions are imperative to speed up growth said the J&K finance minister after tabling ESR, reports Sanjay Khajuria.
None | By Sanjay Khajuria, Jammu
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2007 08:43 PM IST

Structural interventions are imperative to speed up growth said Minister for Finance and Planning Tariq Hamid Karra in a House in Jammu on Tuesday.

He also stressed on a focused mechanism for Jammu and Kashmir to catch up
with the rest of the nation in infrastructure availability.

"Jammu and Kashmir is facing a huge infrastructural deficit spanning both in the economic and social sectors and thus it requires measures to address on priority basis", he said in his historic remarks while presenting the state's maiden Economic Survey Report.

Finance minister, who tabled the first ever Economic Survey Report of the Jammu and Kashmir State in Jammu on Tuesday, on the floors of both Houses separately said that the document has been visualised on a broader framework to suit the development strategy of the state taking its problems in consideration.

He said it has been a tradition since 1958 when the then government under Prime Minister of India Pt JL Nehru had presented such a Economic Survey Report (ESR) a day before the presentation of the financial budget. Kara also said ESR would be made a regular pre-budget feature in the near future.

The state economy, Karra said, is undergoing a critical phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation and the real challenge is to catalyse the existing potential into growth impulses through a fiscal mechanism ensuing long term economic development. The state, he said needs to pursue two sets of policies ie one for the government finances (Fiscal Policy) and other for economic development
(Economic Policy) to achieve the objective of holistic development and growth.

"The state economy exhibits volatility and suffers from limited capacity in the public and private sector but excessive administrative infrastructure", he said.

Referring to the Economic Survey, the Finance Minister said that as against the annual economic growth of 7.0 per cent at the national level during the first four years of the 10th plan the state has achieved 5.5 per cent. During the first two years, the economy registered about five per cent growth, but it is estimated to achieve 5.75 per cent annual average growth during the last three years of the 10th plan.

He said the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is estimated to be Rs 25,050 for the year 2006-07.

Karra said the per capita income works out to Rs 17,174 per annum which is much below the national average of Rs 25,907 per annum. He also expressed concerns over unemployment in the state as compared to the national scenario.
Karra said the percentage of BPL population in the rural and urban areas pointed to the huge variation between the national and the state level records. He said the records will be taken up with the concerned authorities and informed the House that he had asked for a special census survey for determining the BPL families in the state.

Stressing for more focused strategies for over development at one hand, Finance minister Karra said one should be judicious and discerning in allocation with special focus on the critical sectors.

Members from both the treasury and opposition benches appreciated the move describing it a landmark in the state when Finance minister tabled ESR, Finance Accounts and Appropriation Accounts Reports for the year 2005-06 on the table of the House.

Highlights of presentation of Economic Survey Report (ESR)

Economic Survey would be a regular pre-budget feature to evaluate and
monitor the state's economic development in the near future, he added.

ESR has also mentioned Indo-Pak trade, which is below one per cent
and has stressed for economic bridges between Indo Pak and other parts
of Kashmir for positive spinoffs.

Unemployment rate in the state estimated by the National Sample Survey
Organisation (NSSO), stands on an overall 4.21 per cent and 7.33 per
cent in urban areas as compared to national data of 3.09 per cent with
5.37 per cent in the urban areas.

As per the 2001 census literacy percentage was upto 55.52 per cent in the state against 64.84 per cent at the national level with female literacy at 43.0
per cent in the state compared to 53.67 per cent at the national level.

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