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J&K saw nearly 15% economic growth; record tourist visits last year: LG

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‘Security situation has improved in J&K; UT last in country to have property tax’

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said that Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed an economic growth of 14.64 percent during the last year.

Addressing a press conference on Budget 2023-24 in Jammu, Sinha said that along with economic growth, tax revenues had shown a growth of 31 percent during the last financial year.

“Jammu and Kashmir has been among top performers in the country for implementation of schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Amrit Sarovar, SVAMITVA Scheme, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Nasha Mukt Abhiyan and Renewable Energy Development. Most of the social security schemes have been saturated in J&K,” he said.

“Under ‘My Youth My Pride’, ‘Har Din Khel Har Ek Kay Liye Khel’ nearly 50 lakh youth have participated in different sports activities this year.

“Under Digital J&K initiative, 445 online services are being provided through e-UNNAT portal.225 e-services have been integrated with Rapid Assessment System for real time feedback on quality of service delivery. All the online services have been linked with the Public Service Guarantee Act in J&K.”

He said J&K is the first among States/Union Territories to have a District Good Governance Index for assessing the public service delivery at district level.

“Aspirational Panchayat Development Programme, Aspirational Block Development Programme and Aspirational Town Development Programme are the three new initiatives being implemented in J&K,” he added.

Sinha said that the highest-ever investment of Rs 1547.87 crore was received during the last 10 months of this year. “500 start-ups have come up during the last three years,” he added.

He said the unemployment rate has been marginally reduced in the UT. “33,426 posts have been referred to recruiting agencies; 25,450 selections have been made including 2,436 selections in J&K Bank Limited. Around 2, 02,749 youth have been covered under various self-employment schemes and the target is to cover 2, 37,000 by the end of the current year. Next year around 3 lakh will be covered under all the self-employment schemes,” he said.

Giving details about developmental works, he said that in 2018-19, 9,228 works have been completed;  in 2019-20, 12,637 works were completed, in 2020-21, 21,943 works were completed, in 2021-22, 50,627 works were completed and this year we expect 70,000 works to be completed.

“This is the paradigm shift in the pace of development in J&K over the last three to four years,” he said, adding that road construction nearly doubled to 3,200 kilometres against 1500-1600 km in 2018.

LG said that an unprecedented number of tourists visited the Union territory last year as the security situation has improved.

He also said investment proposals worth Rs 70,000 crore have been received for industrial development.

“There is huge improvement in the law-and-order situation. It has good results as an unprecedented number of 1.88 crore tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir. This is the previous year’s figure,” Sinha told a press conference here.

“Till late night, people are enjoying Sikara rides. They are having dinners at restaurants and hotels. Cinemas are running smoothly,” he said.

The LG said night bus services have started in Kashmir. “I think this has started after 30 years. Schools and colleges and universities are running smoothly. Shops remain open,” he said.

On the Rs 1 lakh crore budget approved for Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said, “It is the first budget of Amritkaal. It is the third time that Jammu and Kashmir’s budget has exceeded Rs one lakh crore to ensure development. This budget will give a fillip to the development journey during Amritkaal.”

“We are trying to fulfill the dream of new Jammu and Kashmir during the last three years,” he said.

The LG said the Rs 1,18,500 crore budget will fulfill the dreams of all. “I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the core of my heart for this budget. I am indebted to the Union home minister too”.

The LG also said that Jammu and Kashmir is last in the country to come under the purview of property tax. He said there was no state or city in the country where property tax had not been imposed.

“Jammu and Kashmir was last in imposition of property. We have imposed the tax after due consideration and with sensitivity,” Sinha said while replying to a question at a press conference.

The LG drew comparison with neighbouring states and said there was no tax effect on 40 percent of the residents in cities.

“There are 5.20 lakh houses in cities. Out of them, 2,03,600 houses will only have to pay Rs 1,000 in a year. There is only some area of specific cities, rest of the houses will have lesser tax,” he said.

Sinha said the money collected would be spent on fulfilling the aspirations of the people.

On corruption, he said action will be initiated against those found involved in graft. “We believe in the rule of law and the Constitution,” Sinha said.

Replying to questions on the cancellation of recruitment examinations, he said people expressed suspicions on three recruitment tests. “A probe was held by a committee and something was found in it. So we cancelled three examinations. A CBI probe was also ordered. The agency which was involved in the examination was withdrawn,” he said. (With inputs from PTI)

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