Srinagar: Terming the Union budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as states-centric and gender-friendly, Opposition PDP today welcomed the special funding for various initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir.
Peoples Democratic Party president Mehboba Mufti and Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Tariq Hamid Karra, however, demanded funding for the development of the state on the pattern of northeast states.
While welcoming the proposal to set up an IIT in Jammu, the two leaders demanded that an IIM be established in Kashmir so that the youth in the Valley do not feel a sense of neglect.
Welcoming the government`s announcement to establish new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in various states, Mehbooba and Karra demanded that one such institution should be established in both the regions of the state.
Hailing the initiatives like dedicated funding for sports and Pashmina development in Jammu and Kashmir and allocation of funds for rehabilitation of migrants, the PDP MPs said "if put together with the annual plan allocation of Rs 7,000 crore, J&K will be getting not more than Rs 7,800 crore allocation while on the other hand the allocation for northeastern states is a whopping Rs 53,000 crore.
"There is a huge mismatch between funding for J&K and northeastern states and the gap needs to be bridged over," they said.
The two leaders reiterated the PDP`s demand for having a separate J&K Affairs Ministry in the Central government for focused development of the state.
The PDP also demanded due share of funds from around Rs 1,000 crore allocation proposed for border area development.
"As J&K has a huge population living along the borders, the state should get due share in the border area development fund," they said.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) termed the union budget as "good" for the manufacturing sector, but said it had nothing specific for Kashmir except for the Pashmina initiative.
"It is a good budget. The main thrust is on manufacturing sector. There is a proposal for promotion of Pashmina industry which can grow here, which is a welcome initiative," KCCI president Sheikh Aashiq Ahmad said.