It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
Friday, May 29, 2009
In per capita plan investment, Kashmir figures at bottom
NASEER GANAI/MUDDASIR ALI
Srinagar, May 28: The Kashmir Valley has received less funds for development in different sectors under per capita plan investment in comparison to Jammu and Ladakh. A look at the official figures reveals that the difference in the investment has either grown or remained constant over the past eight years. While senior officials in the Planning department argue that Jammu and Ladakh get more funds due to the difficult terrain in the regions and less accessibility to the district headquarters, sources said that there was no proper mechanism and norms for grant of funds.
Per capita plan investment (in rupees)
Various factors like difficulty of terrain, population and area were the criteria for investment/expenditure per capita, said an official in the department. However, sources said there was no standard formula. “It is usually being worked out on ad hoc basis. Even there were no fixed norms for allocation of funds when new districts were created in 1976 and the problem continued. It again resurfaced when more districts were created in 2007,” said an official. He said in absence of a proper mechanism, there is a disparity in allocation of funds between the three regions of the state.
“For past 20 years Kashmir and some districts of Jammu have suffered immensely for want of development but the impression was being given that more investment was taking place in the Valley,” he said, adding if the argument was that population and area were the main criteria then more investment should have gone to erstwhile Doda district which didn’t happen. As per the 2001 census, the population of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh was respectively 5,467,970, 4,430,191 and 236,539 respectively. Interestingly, in response to a question in the Assembly, the government had said that state plan was formulated for overall development after taking into account the regional and local requirements and availability of resources. “Allocation of resources is done in a fair and equitable manner,” the government had said. Officials said there was a need to understand the issue in holistic manner. There are certain sectors in Kashmir like tourism, conservation of water bodies including Dal Lake which receive more investment in comparison to Jammu and Ladakh, he said. “Likewise in Jammu, more investment takes place in many sectors like lift-irrigation schemes,” he said.