"The latest trend shows that growth rate has increased from 6.12 per cent in 2008-09 to 6.87 per cent in 2009-10, which is an encouraging sign," Rather said in a reply to a discussion on the budget 2011 here today.
On the revenue collection side, he said the commercial taxes department has achieved a growth of 17 per cent in VAT realisation, which is the highest in the country, while the excise department has collected Rs 70 crore more compared to last year, registering an increase of 14.07 per cent, the highest in 10 years.
Rather hoped tax collections by these two departments would approximately amount to Rs 600 crore more in fiscal 2010-11, adding that the 12th Finance Commission has appreciated the efforts of the state for improvement in tax collections.
With regard to the power sector, Rather said it is a grey area which needed government attention. He said Rs 2,051 crore have been earmarked for purchase of power during the next year, adding the government endeavours to add over 2,000mw in the next five years to meet demand.
Referring to the Baglihar hydel project, the minister said the work under phase-II has started and the completion of the project would address power crisis to a large extent by adding 450mw.
Rather said the prestigious Mughal Road project that cuts through the Pir Panjal Mountain range has also been started with Central funding of Rs 639 crore. He said the road would be built by March next.
Referring to the Sher-i-Kashmir employment and welfare programme for youth, he said 5.84 lakh people have registered themselves in their respective district employment and counselling centres. Under the scheme, Rs 3 lakh would be given to graduates and Rs 5 lakh to post-graduates.
The government has employed over 20,200 youth last year in the government sector, whereas another 20,000 would be absorbed in it next year, he said, adding one lakh will be absorbed in the next five years in the government sector.