May 2016 News

Mehbooba's First Budget Offers Education, Entrepreneurship Boost To Women

30 May 2016
India Today
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: The PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, headed by Mehbooba Mufti, on Monday presented a Rs 64,669-crore budget for 2016-17 and announced a slew of welfare measures for women, including fee waivers for girls in government schools. The budget proposals make the purchase of cell phones, jewellery, garments, ready-to-serve food expensive while healthcare is set to get cheaper as the government has proposed tax exemptions not only for hospitals but for services rendered by health clubs, gymnasiums, wellness and slimming centres as well. 'The total receipts are estimated at '61,681 crores. The revenue receipts would be Rs 51,460 crores. Of the revenue receipts, own tax revenue is estimated at '9,220 crores while share of Central taxes up at '9,500 crore as against figure of '8,088 crore in revised estimates 2015-16,' Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu said, while presenting his budget in the J&K Assembly. He proposed waiving of fees of girl students in government-run educational institutions up to the higher secondary level. 'I propose 10 per cent area in all industrial estates of the State shall be reserved for women entrepreneurs,' Drabu said and proposed setting up two Entrepreneur Development Centres in the State to help guide and train aspiring women entrepreneurs. 'I am earmarking an amount of '5 crore for dedicated bus service for women in Srinagar and Jammu cities. I am also making a provision to provide exclusive women toilets in all the state, district and sub district hospitals,' added the FM. The FM proposed exemptions to local industry from payment of Value Added Tax (VAT), exemption on Central Sales Tax (CST) to industrial units, exemption from toll on raw material and finished products of industrial units, exemption on lodging services provided by hotels, lodges and guest houses. The FM also announced the provision of many drugs free of cost to patients in the health centres of the State. The FM disclosed that due to financial mismanagement of previous governments, the GP fund liabilities of State employees had been used to pay the regular wages to people and fund the daily expenditure due to which the current government was not in a position to clear the dues. Drabu proposed setting up of a Journalist Welfare Fund with an initial corpus of '2 crore. He presented a separate power budget.