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Nagaland Budget contains ‘less substance’

Budget an 'empty bowl' which does not spell out any specific policies of the government to be taken up this financial year


Our Correspondent
Kohima | February 14

Opposition leader, TR Zeliang today said that the budget speech of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio contained “too much rhetoric and less substance.”

Participating in the general discussion on the budget for the year 2020-21 here, on the floor of the House, Zeliang urged the government of the day to take up sustainable measures to improve the living standard of all the people in the State and not just a select few.

He commented that the budget is an “empty bowl” which does not spell out any specific policies of the government to be taken up in this financial year.

Other than the tax on heavy machineries and the hike in petroleum products, there is basically nothing in this whole speech “which we can be happy and proud of,” he said.
Enormous deficit of the State and the abnormal jump of the deficit figure when compared to last year as presented to this House, makes one to wonder as to how the government managed to bring about so much deficit in a year’s time.

He said that from 2018-19 to 2019-20, a total of 570 crore has been added to the deficit of the State. In the budget of 2019-20, the opening negative balance of the State was 1661.68 crore and now in this budget, the figure of negative balance is 2234.85 crore, which means, in a span of one year, a total of 573.17 crore has been added to the deficit, he said.

“With very few avenues to generate revenue, the State cannot afford to bear such huge amount of deficit. With no new mega developmental works taking place in the State or no revenue generating investment recorded in this budget presentation, one is made to wonder as to how 573 crore can be added to the State deficit at such short duration,” Zeliang said.

He said that the budget speech is focused more on the entertainment.

On the issue of Investment and generating income, he said the PDA government has clearly spelt out the poor financial state of Nagaland. “Yet, there is no mention of any new investment or projects from outside the State or Country which would enhance economic development and generate income for the State.”

What is the Status of Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN)?? What part is IDAN playing to bring more investment to the State? Wasn’t IDAN conceptualized and brought about to help the State generate income and help the financial position of the State? he questioned.


‘Budget lacks progressive agenda’
MLA Yitachu said the budget presentation for the year 2020-21 does not contain any progressive agenda. It does not speak about any industrial activities. This budget lacks transparency in the financial matter, he argued.

He said that every department wants only job creation, adding “Without resources of our own how we think of sustaining such huge employees?”
During 2019, the number of government employees stood at 1, 25, 255 and this year it has gone upto 1, 27, 889. “The more we are adding up employees, the government will definitely land in more and more problem,” he said.


‘Maintain 37% reservation for backward tribes’
MLA Chotisuh Sazo urged the government to maintain 37% reservation for the backward tribes in the State.

Taking part in the general discussion on the Budget here today, he said that many departments failed to maintain reservation for backward tribes.
Regretting that the budget did not mention much on agri and allied sector, he said “Your focus are all festival, music, dancing, fashion, tours and all.”

He said that the deserving people are being neglected and urged the government to look into the position and grievances of agri and allied sector, especially farmers.


Govt questioned on law and order
On awarding Nagaland as the best performing state among small states in law and order for the year 2019 by India Today Group, Sazo questioned “If we are getting the best performance in law and order why this Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) again imposed in our state?”

Stating this as a serious issue, he informed that the other day, a human rights activist Neingulo Krome was deported from the Kolkata Airport.

If today the civil society members and human rights activist are not allowed traveling outside the country, tomorrow what will be the position of our elected members? Sazo said and urged the government to explain to the people.

MLA Imkong L Imchen also taking part in the budget debate commented on the frequent landslide road between Kohima and Dimapur. He therefore requested the Ministry for a one-time grant dispensation to construct 2-Lane road in Jotsoma bypass road.

MLA Kezhienyi Khalo urged the Government to look into loophole and discrepancy in the appointment under police department. He also urged the government to see that the backward tribe quota is implemented in letter and spirit.

Public Health Engineering Minister, Jacob Zhimomi maintained that the biggest asset of the State is the youth force and stressed on the need to take the youth forward in the right direction.


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