Khalid ul Rehman Hakeem (Associate Professor, King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia)
The state of J&K is currently facing serious concerns in various areas of its agricultural economy. Two main issues which require great attention in the current 2018-19 budget are:
1. Environmental well being and
2. Enhancing the agricultural productivity
The upcoming budget should have budgetary provisions for the conservation of our wetlands, pristine environmental locations including forests and newly developed tourist sites.
More funds need to be allocated for sustainable ecotourism. A special task force meant to monitor the timely and judicious use of funds on such environment related projects is the need of an hour.
The government can also introduce a Payment to Ecosystem Services (PES) tax to the visitors of these places for the conservation of the state’s environmentally-sensitive locations.
My expectation with the current budget is also to kick-start projects like efficient waste disposal system in at least around the municipal limits, introduction and promotion of alternative sources of energies and development of eco-friendly transportation, particularly around pristine environmentally sensitive areas.
My expectations with the budget 2018-19 would also be to promote the small scale agricultural initiatives, to provide them the subsides in taxes and to encourage them to bring their product in the international market.
Currently, due to technological advancements and WTO, there is a great competition among the agriculturally rich countries to sell their products in the international market. Our agricultural products viz., saffron, walnut, apple, silk, pashmina shawls etc, despite having great quality, are lagging behind due to the non-availability of good technology and market promotion in the international market.
I expect the current budget to fill these gaps and start R&D units in J&K with the collaboration of research institutes within and outside the state and provide the farmers subsidies to procure and adopt good technology and market support.