New Delhi: The Planning Commission today approved Rs 7,300 crore annual Plan expenditure for Jammu & Kashmir for 2012-13, representing an increase of 10 per cent over outlay in the last fiscal.
The Plan outlay was finalised here at a meeting between the Commission's Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Omar Abdullah here. During the meeting, Ahluwalia complimented the J&K government for promoting economic activity and focusing on
development of social and physical infrastructure.
The state government, he said, needed to further encourage private sector participation by creating an atmosphere conducive to investment. Education, health and tourism should be given priority while working out development
strategy, Ahluwalia added.
Briefing the Commission on the strategy for the 12th Plan (2012-17), Abdullah said the state would focus on accelerated and sustained growth, growth-employment linkage, consolidation of infrastructure, empowerment of people and building of human and institutional capacities.
"The challenge is now to meet enhanced people's expectations. The Public Service Guarantee Act has been introduced in 6 Departments and 45 Services and positive results are already visible," the Chief Minister said. Ahluwalia expressed the Commission's willingness to provide more flexibility to the states in implementing centrally sponsored schemes.
He asked the state to make efforts to improve revenue resources. The Commission also asked the state to promote food processing and horticulture, which contribute about 7-8 per cent towards to its economy.
About 5 lakh families (27 lakh farmers) are involved with the horticulture industry directly or indirectly. An area of 3.06 lakh hectares is under fruit cultivation.
The Commission, during the discussion, drew the attention of the state towards gender gap in literacy saying that at 20.25 per cent it was much higher than the national average of 16.68 per cent.
It also expressed concern over declining the sex ratio (in age group of 0-6 years) in the state which dipped by 82 points from 941 (Census 2001) to 859 (Census 2011).
The Chief Minister on his part complimented the Commission and the Finance Ministry for their sensitivity and support to the state. Abdullah said the state would target a modest and realistic growth rate of 7.5 per cent with focus on productive sectors, especially infrastructure and education.