Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Finance Commission

Constitution of State Finance Commission in offing 
Naseer A Ganai 
Srinagar, Nov 28: The Government is going to appoint chairperson and members of the State Finance Commission before the Budget session of the Assembly, senior officials said.  
The officials said that the Government has formed rules for the Commission and its secretary would be appointed within two weeks. However, they said, the Chairman and members of the Commission will be appointed by the chief minister himself. “It is discretion of the Chief Minister to appoint the chairman himself or he could take the decision by discussing it in the cabinet,” said a senior official of Finance Department. 
The State Finance Commission Bill, 2006 was introduced in summer session of the Assembly “to ensure equitable development of all regions in the State by equitable distribution of resources available for the development.” The Bill also said that the commission would make good of backlog of development and employment at the regional and district levels in Jammu and Kashmir. Some four months ago, when Government introduced the bill in the Assembly, it had promised that within six months it will constitute the State Finance Commission. 
The former finance Minister Muzaffer Hussain Baig told Greater Kashmir that the State Finance Commission bill was brought to expose many myths. “One of the biggest myth is that Jammu region is neglected in development,” he said. However, he said, he has no knowledge whether Government has done anything in this regard or not. 
The Commission apart from ensuring equitable development, has to identify the backward districts of the State and assess the deviation of these districts from the mean development level of the State and it has to evolve a set policy instructions to equalize the dispersal of development across the districts. The commission has to also identify the employment backlog at the regional, sub-regional, district or the targeted economic unit level and recommend measures for removal of disparities. Presently Kupwara is most backward district of the State and it is followed by Doda district.
The Commission has to submit its report to the Government within the time prescribed. 
The chairperson of the Commission should be an eminent economist with expertise in State Finance and Planning at regional level.
The Commission should have members (not exceeding five), having excelled in administration, regional planning, policy planning, entreprenueurship, investment, credits and legal or academic fields. 
The Government, according to the Jammu and Kashmir Finance Commission Act, will appoint the chairperson and members by notification. The Government has to appoint secretary to commission who will be the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission. The officials said that the secretary will be appointed within two weeks and rest of the appointments will be decided by the Chief Minister himself or they way he decides.
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