Kashmir earns plan panel ire over health service ‘gaps’

New Delhi, June 18 (Calcutta Tube) The plan panel Friday took a dig at the Jammu and Kashmir government for leaving large gaps in the delivery of health services and asked Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to take steps to fill the gaps and focus attention on inclusive growth.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, in a meeting with Abdullah, finalised a state outlay of Rs.6,000 crore for the financial 2010-11 and asked the chief minister to make the private sector an ‘active partner’ in infrastructure development. The plan outlay for last year was Rs.5,500 crore.

‘On infrastructure development, incentives in the form of policies should be offered to make the private sector an active partner in the development of both social and physical infrastructure,’ Ahluwalia told Abdullah.

On the health sector, the plan panel appeared not too happy with the efforts of the state government.

‘There are large gaps in the delivery of health services mainly due to shortage of manpower. The state should take appropriate steps to fill these critical gaps and have focussed attention on inclusive growth,’ Abdullah was told, according to a statement of the panel.

The Abdullah government got a pat on its back for the plan to develop 690 MW power generation capacity in public-partnership mode in the power-starved state.

However, he was told that the balance hydro power generation potential also needed to be similarly exploited ‘as it holds the key to the state’s economic growth and for generating resources to fund its development schemes’.

‘Wind farm based capacity should be expanded and non-conventional systems based on solar and bio-mass also need to be encouraged,’ Ahluwalia said.

Abdullah was asked to make employment generation ‘a priority area’ in the state where, according to the chief minister, there are about 700,000 unemployed youth.

‘The handicraft and tourism sector hold high potential in absorbing unemployed youth. The state should take steps to draw up a skill development plan to enhance employability of its youths.’

Ahluwalia said the government should work out an action plan for rapid development of the state during 12th plan period (2012-17) to ‘ensure the fruits of development reach people in all parts of the state equally.

‘More avenues of revenue generation should be explored (as the) state has abundant natural resources to create more streams of revenue generation.’

Abdullah told the reporter after the meeting that besides the Rs.6,000 crore annual plan, the state has also got Rs.1,200 crore under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme.

‘The onus is on me and my team to deliver development in the light of funds and resources made available to us,’ the chief minister said.

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