Yawar Hussain

Srinagar, Dec 04: The State Administrative Council (SAC) is all set to pass the 2019-2020 State budget before the President’s rule is imposed in the State on December 19, transferring the powers then to the Parliament.

The State government mainly the Finance department has been conducting department-wise meetings with the budget formulation deadline set for December 8.

“The Finance department is in the process of compilation and consolidation of the Revised Estimates (2018-19) and Budget Estimates (2019-20). The budget formulation exercise is to be completed by December 8, 2018,” an order issued by the Finance department to other departments reads.

The order states that the Administrative Secretaries need to direct their respective Finance and Planning personnel to remain available in their departments for budget coordination with the Finance department to ensure that the assigned task was accomplished.

As per the sources, the meetings for budget discussion of Tourism; Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs; and Public Works (R&B) departments are being scheduled for Wednesday while the meetings of some departments on budget discussions had already been held.

As per the sources, the budget discussion meetings of the Public Health Engineering; Irrigation and Flood Control; and Power Development departments have been preponed from December 8 to December 7 keeping in view the December 8 deadline for the budget.

The meetings for budget discussion have been going on since the reopening of the civil secretariat in the winter capital Jammu last month.

An official in the administration, wishing anonymity, said the State Administrative Council (SAC) had directed that the budget should be finalized before the President’s rule is imposed.

“The imposition of President’s rule will mean that the State will have to get the budget passed from the Parliament instead of SAC under the Governor,” the official said.

As per sources, the decision of the SAC has been taken in view of the general elections as well which are likely to be conducted around the same period which could leave the State wanting for funds if the budget is not passed by the Parliament.

As per the State’s constitution, Governor’s rule is imposed for first six months after the fall of the democratically-elected government while the President’s rule follows thereafter.

The constitution of the J&K states that during the President’s rule in the State, the powers for approval of the budget are with the Governor during the Governor’s rule but shift to the Parliament as soon as the President’s rule is imposed.

Subsequently, as per the State’s constitution, the budget had to be introduced and passed by both Houses of the Parliament.

The budget for financial year of 2018-19 was presented by former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on January 11 this year in the legislature.

The budget for 2019-20 is likely to be advanced by a little about 20 days and passed before December 19, sources said.

The previous Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party government had presented the budget proposals for 2018-19 in the previous assembly on January 11, 2018.