Jammu & Kashmir: Economy
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Horticulture sector contributes around Rs 5000 crore to the State’s economy annually and it is the core sector of J&K’s agriculture economy with about 4.5 lakh families engaged in it. Around 20 per cent area of the State is under horticultural crops.
Apple Among the horticultural crops in the State apple occupies the predominant position constituting around 45 percent of the total area under fruit crops.
Exports in 2015 / September: In 2015only 66259 MTs of fruit in 7291 truckloads went out of the Valley during the month of September
Exports in 2016/ Apr- Sept: There has been a massive increase in fruit exports from the Kashmir valley during the current season with the cumulative exports touching a whopping 300366 MTs between April 2016 and September 2016 against only 124990 MTs during the corresponding period of the last year.
Exports in 2016 / September: According to the data released by the Department of Horticulture (Planning and Marketing), a substantial swell in fruit exports from the Valley was witnessed during the month of September 2016 with 22117 truckloads crossing Lower Munda Toll Post between September 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016 carrying 249996 MTs of fresh and dry fruit.
Fresh fruit exports/ 2015: exports of fresh fruit during this period were just 122987 MTS with 14232 truckloads moving out of the Valley.
Fresh fruit exports/ 2016: 296789 MTs of fresh fruit have been dispatched out of the Valley between April 2016 and September 2016 in 26940 truckloads
Dry fruit exports/ 2015: 2003 MTs of dry fruit were exported in 426 truckloads during this period.
Dry fruit exports/ 2016: the exports of dry fruit have also witnessed manifold increase with 3577 MTs being exported from the Valley in 643 truckloads between April 2016 and September 2016
The volume of the fresh fruit that has been dispatched outside the Valley during September 2016 is 248571 MTs in 21866 truckloads while 1425 MTs of dry fruit in 251 truckloads has been dispatched during last month.
In 2015 only 65734 MTs of fresh fruit in 7192 truckloads had moved outside the Valley during the month of September while the volume of dry fruit exports during this period was 525 MTs involving 99 truckloads.
Govt spends Rs 11,000 cr on electricity purchase in 3 yrs
Government has spent over Rs 11,000 crore on purchase of electricity in the last three years and said that it can’t provide 24X7 power supply to the consumers.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh who also holds power portfolio told the Assembly in a written reply today: “Rs.3,945.850 crore were spent on purchase of energy from outside the State in the year 2013-14. Similarly Rs.4,719.604 crore were spent in 2014-15 and Rs.2,432.627 crore, till end of August this year.”
The State Government said it has to pump huge amount of money in meeting its power requirement and the revenue collected from electricity dues falls way short of the expenditure.
“In the year 2013, the Government recovered Rs. 1,713.37 crore, while as in 2014, Rs.1,738.17 crore were collected… till the end of August this year, only Rs.668.15 crore recovery could be made,” said Singh.
The reply said: “There are around 16,47222 registered consumers in the State out of which 8,38258 are metered consumers. Currently, NHPC generates 4,961 MW of hydroelectricity in six states out of which Jammu and Kashmir alone contributes 2,009 MW.”
The State generates 761 MW electricity from its own 21 power projects run by Power Development Corporation (PDC), while as it needs 2,500 MW to meet energy requirements.
PDC has said its main concern is transmission and distribution losses affecting power distribution service, with highest loss percentage of 74.65 percent in Ganderbal district in the Kashmir Valley and lowest of 23.31 in Poonch district.
However, it said it has been able to reduce transmission and distribution losses from 61.58 percent in 2012 to 55.20 percent in 2014.
In the meantime, Government said it was not possible for it to provide round-the-clock electricity supply to consumers at the moment due to lack of resources.
“It (electricity supply for 24 hours) is not possible at the moment as the State does not have the required resources needed for replacing obsolete infrastructure,” Minister of State for Power Mohammad Ashraf Mir said in the Assembly during Question Hour.
Mir said the improvement in the power structure required huge amount of funds which were not available to the state. ”We have some Centrally sponsored schemes sanctioned and improvement will take time,” he said.
“The State Government is making strenuous efforts to improve power infrastructure within the available resources”, the minister said. He said the infrastructure is being upgraded under Central schemes like R-APRDRP, IPDS and DDUGJY on equitable basis in all the constituencies.
Mir said priority is being given to complete ongoing power works and the Government is striving to bring all uncovered areas under electrification.
In reply to a question by PDP MLA Mohammad Abbas Wani, the Minister said Rs 10 crore each have been released in last two years for improvement of high tension and low tension network in various districts of Kashmir.
During the current financial year, the Government has released Rs 7.50 crore for Kashmir Valley for the said purpose, the minister stated.
More revenue from Jammu than Valley despite equal power consumption
Notwithstanding the consumption of almost an equal amount of power in both the divisions of the State, Jammu continues to pay more in comparison to Kashmir as revenue collection from this region is far more than the realization in Valley during first five months of the current financial year.
Official sources told the Excelsior that more than Rs 370.55 crores were realized as power revenue from Jammu upto August month of the financial year 2015-16 whereas on the other hand, only Rs 297.69 crores could be collected from Kashmir Valley during this period.
Even as the ratio of power consumption in both the divisions is almost 51:49 during these five months, the revenue realization from Jammu is around 25 percent more than Kashmir, sources added.
While elaborating, sources said that total 590 million units of electricity was consumed in the State up to ending September month of the ongoing financial year. Out of this, Jammu consumed 298.40 million units while 289.85 million units were consumed in Kashmir Valley.
However, in respect of revenue realization for the power consumed here, Jammu people paid Rs 370.55 crores whereas only 297.69 crores were realized from Kashmir Valley by Commercial Wing of the Power Development Department.
Even as the revenue realization in Kashmir is 20 percent more than the corresponding period of last year, it is still far less than Jammu, sources informed.
According to the figures of Commercial and Survey Wing of the PDD, total revenue realization against the power consumed across J&K State in the year 2014-15, was Rs 173673.458 lacs.
While revenue of Rs 102171.72 lacs was realized from Jammu province, Rs 69485.67 lacs only were collected in Kashmir Valley on the account of power usage. Leh contributed Rs 2016.06 lacs as revenue realization during the last year.
Even as the Power Development Department (PDD) had fixed Rs 3508.62 crore worth revenue target for the financial year of 2014-15, the realization was only Rs 1736 crore, which was less than 50 per cent of the fixed target.
Reasons for widening gap between power purchase bill and the revenue realization, include; low tariff for sale of power, high transmission and distribution losses (around 60 percent) and un-controlled and un-accounted consumption of power beyond the agreement load by the consumers.
Although the process of installing Electronic Meters was introduced several years back, metering of all the consumer installations is yet to take time.
When contacted, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, who hold the charge of Power Department in J&K, admitted that Transmission and Distribution losses in Kashmir Valley are more in comparison to Jammu even as the authorities have succeeded to reduce the same around six percent during the last few months. “Besides giving targets for revenue realization, special instructions have been made to concerned authorities to check T&D losses and we are hopeful to further reduce the same around 40 percent by the end of this financial year,” he added.
Highest T&D,AT&C losses in J&K
Government today admitted that J&K was one of the highest T&D as well as AT&C losses making State in the country but said it has been able to bring it down from 72.68% in 2011-12 to about 59% in 2015-16.
In a written reply to a question of MLA Shakti Raj Parihar in Lower House, Minister Incharge Power said to plug these losses and bring them to national level for the betterment of common consumers, various flagship programmes are currently under execution/ in pipeline.
“These flagship programmes mainly focus on the upgradation and strengthening of the transmission and distribution system in the State, once these flagship programmes are implemented, the consumers will get reliable and quality power supply and AT&C losses will also be reduced to 15% by 2019-20,” the Minister said.
The Minister stated that Ministry of Power, GoI had launched Restructured Accelerated Power development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) in July 2008 to cover urban areas, towns and cities with population of more than 30,000 (10,000 in case of special category States like J&K).
A total amount of Rs. 1817.26 crores was sanctioned under R-APDRP in J&K including 987 crores for Srinagar division and Rs. 830 crore for Jammu division, the Minister said.
In a written reply to another question of MLA Mohammad Akram in Lower House, the Minister said 100% consumer metering is top priority of the department. Presently, across the State 55% of consumers are metered and 8,19,835 are un metered consumers mostly in domestic sector, to achieve 100% metering procurement of about 2.50 lac metres by P&MM wing of the department is under process for which bids have already being sanctioned, the Minister stated.
He further said that installation of about 6,11,566 numbers of metres under various flagship programmes have already been earmarked and are under implementation. “Help of Central agencies like REC, PGCIL, DGS&D, PFA etc is also being sought for completion of 100% in the State,” said the Minister.
In another question of MLA Gagan Bhagat, the Minister Incharge Power said that under IPDS, Rs 202.27 crore would be utilized for upgrading of power infrastructure in Jammu region, while as Rs 222.22 crore in Kashmir region and Rs 20.01 crore in the Ladakh region. The process of tendering is under progress.
The Minister said that under IPDS Rs 5.64 crore would be expended for upgradion of power infrastructure in RS Pura constituency.
The Minister further said that under DDUGJY, Rs 231.45 crore would be expended in Jammu region, Rs 293.30 crore in Kashmir and Rs 91.86 crore in the Ladakh region. The Minister stated that under DDUGJY Rs 32.41 crore have been approved to be incurred in RS Pura for upgradion of power infrastructure.
“The up-gradation of transformer, repair workshop has been taken up in RS Pura constituency also. Rs 90.10 lakhs have been expended on up-gradation of workshop ending March 2016, while as Rs 12.50 lakhs are being spent during the current fiscal,” he added.
The Minister said that 1417 distribution transformers were repaired at central workshop Jammu and 2050 transformers repaired at divisional workshop Miran Sahib during last financial year. Rs 30.63 lacs have been utilized under CDF in RS Pura constituency for up-gradation of various power infrastructures, said the Minister.
“The manpower in the Power and Development Department is being recruited through recruitment agencies strictly in accordance with the recruitment rules. The contractual employees are being regularized under the provisions of J&K Civil Services Act 2010. The need based employees are being regularized as per policy in vogue,” the Minister added
Jammu contributes 75%,Valley only 25% to taxes being collected in J&K
Unbelievable it may sound but it is a fact that Jammu division is contributing around 75% to the taxes being collected by the Commercial Taxes Department of the State Government while as realization of taxes from the Kashmir division is only around 25%. The situation demands revisit of the criteria for allocation of funds for developmental activities in two divisions so as to bring an end to the feeling of discrimination.
The functioning of the Department of Commercial Taxes is based on trade activity across Jammu and Kashmir and most of the offices of Taxation Authority are concentrated in the commercial hub of the State-cities of Jammu and Srinagar. This department realizes taxes on account of VAT, MST, Entry Tax, Stamps and Registration.
As per the official figures, which were furnished in the Lower House by the Minister Incharge Finance in reply to the query of BJP MLA from Jammu East, Rajesh Gupta, Jammu division is far ahead of Kashmir division in contributing to the taxes being collected by the Commercial Taxes Department. While the realization of taxes in Jammu division hovers around 75% during the past three years, the same in Kashmir division remains around 25%.
During the year 2014-15, taxes to the tune of Rs 4760.77 crore were realized by the Commercial Taxes Department from the State, which includes Rs 3592.15 crore from Jammu division and Rs 1168.62 crore from Kashmir division.
During this year, Jammu division contributed Rs 2690.57 crore to the total of Rs 3744.93 crore Sales Tax/VAT recovered by the department as compared to Rs 1054.36 by the Kashmir division. Under Account Head-P-Tax, the contribution of Jammu division was Rs 8.58 crore as compared to Rs 4.16 crore by Kashmir division.
Similarly, during 2015-16 financial year, against total collection of Rs 5515.96 crore by the Commercial Taxes Department, the realization from Jammu division was to the tune of Rs 4126.89 crore as compared to Rs 1389.07 crore from Kashmir division. During the current financial year (up to ending April), Jammu division contributed Rs 749.49 crore to the total tax collection of Rs 976.90 crore as compared to Rs 227.41 crore by Kashmir division.
“No doubt, establishment of more companies and industrial units in Jammu as compared to Kashmir valley besides realization of taxes at Lakhanpur are considered as the reason behind maximum tax collection from Jammu division, there is no justification in not ensuring parity in the allocation of funds as this will send a wrong signal to those playing crucial role in generating resources for the State”, sources said.
They further said: “at the Union Government level, the States are allocated funds as per their contribution to the Central Pool of Taxes. Similar yardstick should be applied in Jammu and Kashmir and fair allocation of developmental funds must be ensured based on the contribution to the State taxes”.
“The revisit of the criteria for funds allocation is also imperative especially in the light of the fact that like several parts of Kashmir division including Ladakh region, there are numerous sub-regions in Jammu division which are still lagging behind on developmental front as such need special attention”, sources said.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister refused to divulge the arrears of various taxes recoverable at the end of 2008-09, 2014-15 and at present along with the names of defaulters having outstanding of more than Rs 50 lakh.
Although such a list has been furnished to the State High Court in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and even appeared in media, the same was concealed from the elected representatives of the people by taking refuge under the garb of “sub-judice matter”.
“While dealing with the PIL on arrears of taxes, the High Court has never restrained the Government from making public the names of defaulters”, sources said.
Meanwhile, the Excise Department is still facing the daunting task of eradicating the menace of illicit liquor distillation and destruction of narcotics being cultivated mostly in different parts of Kashmir valley.
“No doubt, raids are being conducted continuously, people are booked and seizures are made, the Excise Department has a long way to go to check this deep-rooted menace”, sources said, adding “unless the cultivation of narcotics is completely brought to an end, the situation is not going to improve at the required pace”.