ALIGNING EXPENDITURE ALLOCATION

The incumbent fiscal manager of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Haseeb Drabu has been moving ahead nicely with his unprecedented fiscal manoeuvres right from the day he took over the portfolio of State’s Finance Minister. The fiscal juggler has already proved his mettle during his previous stints as the fiscal manager of this state to such an extent that his initiatives were emulated by other states too on the instructions of the Union Finance Ministry. Yet again the other day, in a first exercise of its kind, the Minister for Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu held extensive deliberations with his cabinet colleagues to align the Expenditure Allocation with the priorities of different departments which is his latest novel initiative and if transformed on ground level with due care and in true letter and spirit, it is going to give unprecedented boost to development in the state. It is a fact that expenditure allocation should be based on priorities of the ministers who head various departments of the state and not on some historically defined perspective and this will undoubtedly ensure targeted infrastructure development as also proper utilization of funds in the long run. The deliberations in the other day’s meeting definitely seem to be part of the pre-budget exercise carried out by the ministry. The Finance Minister rightly pointed out that there should a system of normative expenditure because the state government spends a lot of money without any major corresponding inputs from the concerned departments. The novel system put forth by Dr Drabu is aimed at getting inputs from different departments on where the focus of public spending should be and also to do away with the rigid budgetary structures. It is pertinent to mention here that by preponing the budget session to January, another exemplary initiative of the dynamic Finance Minister, he added another feather to his cap. The Finance Minister has stood by his repeatedly reiterations that Government would ensure a people-friendly fiscal management in this state that has already suffered a lot on account of terrorism and subversion. While his track record is exemplary his budgets have been reform driven and key outcome oriented, rather than presenting aggregation of numbers besides establishing a sound expenditure monitoring mechanism to ensure tangible results on ground. He has always indicated his resolve to emphasize upon the technology driven monitoring of the flagship programmes of the State government and centrally sponsored schemes. His direction for preparation of a calendar indicating milestones of fiscal and financial achievements under these programmes has been aimed at working out comparatively more practicable budget every year. The people have a lot of expectations from the incumbent finance minister and he has already proved his capabilities as a people friendly fiscal juggler. Every individual of the society be it business man, employee, industrialist or any common man has genuine expectations from the finance minister especially when the pre budget exercises are on every year. However, in this regard the common man should always be accorded topmost priority because past experience has shown that it is the big players in the affairs who are responsible for gross fiscal indiscipline at the cost of the common man. This stark reality shall have to be taken utmost care of by the seasoned finance minister who has already proved to be a pundit in his affairs. It is hoped that common man’s issues will be definitely addressed to the extent possible so that the people at the grass root level witness the translation of the commitment of the incumbent government towards their concerns.