Here is the complete budget speech presented by Haseeb Drabu in the state assembly today-
Honorable Speaker, 1. I rise to present the Annual Financial Statements relating to the Receipts and Expenditure for the current year and the next financial year.
2. It is professionally a privilege and personally a pleasure to present the state budget to this legislature.
3. Without exception, every incoming finance minister has invariably declared with a dramatic flourish in this house that the “state coffers are empty”. I shall not talk about the legacy that I have inherited as the finance minister. 2 4. Instead, I shall table in this session of the assembly, a white paper on the state finances done by an independent specialist research firm. That shall be the baseline against which the performance of this government can be judged.
5. This government doesn’t see a budget as an end in itself; it is a means to an end. The revenue and expenditure figures that are normally read out in a budget speech are only an accounting part of it. There is more to a budget than a statement of accounts.
6. A budget has a fiscal stance and strategy, a public expenditure structure and policy and a revenue mobilization plan and priority. More than the numbers, I believe that the House needs to get a broad sense of these to be able to have a meaningful debate.
7. But before I come to these routine and regular aspects of the budget, I want to share with this House the objectives of my maiden budget in the context of our state.
8. I hope to use the budget to enlarge the constituency of peace in the state. I hope to use the budget to share with the people of J&K the dividends of peace; something that they have been deprived of for many years. I hope to use the budget as an instrument for sustainable growth and balanced development within the state. In the process, I hope to have a budget in which the revenues cover the expenditures of the state government. It is a tall order but I can assure this House that this government will give it the best that we have with sincerity of thought and honesty of purpose.
9. There are three main themes in my budget; first, build the credibility and confidence of the 4 government in itself and its financial management.
10. Let me do this by asserting in this House that I shall not seek any financial assistance or grants from the Centre other than what is provided for in the Constitution of India for all the special category states as a part of the federal fiscal system.
11. In common parlance, I am asserting that I shall not go with a begging bowl to New Delhi. This despite the fact that we not only have a friendly government at the Centre, we also have an exceptionally sensitive and accommodating Union Finance Minister.
12. By doing so, I do hope to restore the dignity of the people of J&K who are forever being accused of surviving on subsidies and largesse.
13. The goal of our government is economic self-reliance and fiscal autonomy. All of us want the J&K government to be able to pay 5 not only for the salaries of its employees, but also for the development of its economy and the prosperity of its people.
14. Second, while the budget is about government’s finances; it is also about private businesses. We have said in our Agenda for Alliance that economic policy shall not be formulated only for Government but for private businesses and enterprises. This budget is a first step in that direction.
15. The third theme of the budget relates to the elimination of corruption by making all government-public interfaces non-discretionary, criteria based and transparent.
16. The fiscal strategy and stance of this budget is expansionary. Not that I had much choice in it. With the people of the state in distress and the economy in shambles post the 6 devastating floods last year, it is the responsibility of the government not only to give relief but also to rehabilitate and reconstruct.
17. We will not be able to bankroll the entire rehabilitation on our own or even in partnership with the Centre but we will have to find ways and means of doing so. That is what the government is all about.
18. The public expenditure policy will be such that most of the additional increases will be in such sectors that will fuel growth and get the economy back on tracks.
19. Following the replacement of Planning Commission by NITI Aayog and the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission Award we have completely changed the structure of our state budget. J&K is perhaps 7 the first state in the country to align its budget to the changes in the federal fiscal system.
20. All resource transfers from the centre to the state are now in the form of Finance Commission transfers. The plan transfers decided by the erstwhile Planning Commission have now been subsumed under those of the Finance Commission. As such, share in taxes, statutory grants, and plan grants are now a part of the Finance Commission transfers and hence statutory. All discretionary grants have been abolished.
21. In this new scheme of transfers, I have completely changed the framework of the state budget. Starting from the next fiscal, i.e., 2015-16, our budget will now have only two parts; the Receipts Budget and the Expenditure Budget. The expenditure budget will, in turn now have only the revenue and capital expenditure estimates.
22. The entire old classification of the plan and non- plan has been discarded. This is a major change which has far reaching implications on the allocation, efficiency and monitoring of public expenditure.
23. This change will demystify the budget to a great extent. Now there will be only two categories of expenditure, current and capital; the former being what is spent to meet our daily expenses and the latter is what is spent on making assets on the ground. In the years to come, we can start the mapping of asset creation with money that has been spent. This was impossible in the earlier classification. In the next budget we will provide this House with the details of the physical assets that have been created on the ground by the money that was spent.
24. Another benefit of the new budgeting system that I am introducing is that the large number 9 of government servants who would have to wait for months together to get their salaries under plan head, will not have to wait any longer. By shifting all the plan revenue expenditure onto the revenue side from 2015-16, the hardships of these employees will be a distant memory.
25. In the new system, we will formulate our own scheme of financing the state budget. We will change the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act next year to ensure that over the next three years, it is mandated that borrowings are used only to finance creation of capital assets.