Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Never Ending Saga of the J&K State Overdraft

The overdraft, condemned by both the NC and PDP when out of power, find its utility extremely useful while in power at the expense of Indian Taxpayers who actually underwrite most of its financial cost to the State

Overdraft From J&K Bank Touches Rs 2,290 cr

Jmmu: Abdul Rahim Rather was always critical of the increasing dependence of the state finances on overdraft raised from the J&K Bank Ltd when Mufti was chief minister.

It was a different situation that time as he was in opposition, but now he himself heads the finance ministry in the NC-led coalition government.

But the overdraft did not come down during his tenure as finance minister, it touched an all time high of Rs 2,290 cr, according to the economic survey report (ESR) released by the government in the recent past.

The ESR said the overdraft limit which stood at 944 cr in 1997-98 had risen to the level of 2290.25 cr in 2008-09.

The overdraft percentage in terms of total expenditure has, however, gradually come down over the last few years.

The overdraft limit at the outset of the 2002-03 when Mufti was in power stood at 1,241.29 cr, ie 14.43 per cent of total expenditure.

The overdraft touched the highest ever level of 18.37 per cent in 1997-98 when Farooq Abdullah was chief minister. During his regime, he was grappled with the issue of poor finances and by the time he completed his term, he was able to bring down the overdraft level to 15.44 per cent of the total expenditure.

It rose to the level of 1979.64 cr in 2005-06, ie the second highest level of 17 per cent of the total expenditure when Mufti was chief minister.

Its down journey started in 2006-07 during the tenure of Ghulam Nabi Azad who was lucky enough to receive liberal central funding.

The over draft limit in terms of percentage of total expenditure further came down to 12.89 per cent in 2007-2008 during Azad's time.

At present the overdraft level has recorded another jump and is hovering around 13.43 percent of the total expenditure.

(Early Times)

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