J K News Today

Jammu, January 11  Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu  lived up to  his  reputation as  a man who can package  anything  that sounds pleasing to ears for a while  before   the hard realities  start staring in face . A trained economist  and  professional journalist , knowing how to play with  words , Drabu presented  fourth budget in a row with all  the elements  – the implementation of seventh  Pay commission for nearly 5 lakh state employees  from April 1st  with retrospective effect of  2016 , exemption of tax on export of fruits , reduction of eligibility for full pension  from 33 years service to 20 years ,  loan waivers for Houseboat owners , freight subsidy to  industrial units – to  add charm to his budget .

A clinical analysis would reveal that how much Drabu has succeeded in his mission to project the financial success to the situation on the ground because many sectors, tourism, industry and transport are facing hard times.  But at the moment, his packaging ability has dazzled his admirers, mostly from the government including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

She said “ the budget by focusing on pachayats , has fully displayed  the commitment of her government to strengthen  local self  government  in the state at political , administrative and financial  levels,” impliedly crediting  Drabu for having carried forward her agenda . She was facing a lot of criticism for not being serious on the Panchayat polls. Now the polls are scheduled to be held from mid-February, while the notification is expected tomorrow (January 12).

Drabu’s two unique qualities – lot of cerebral material and sweet talk – have worked to his advantage. This charm is working well for him in the Central government where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley trusts him.  He knows his assets and is adept at playing them successfully.