Nagaland Budget 2024-25 ‘real people-centric’: CM Rio

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing press conference after budget presentation in Kohima on February 27. (Morung Photo)

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing press conference after budget presentation in Kohima on February 27. (Morung Photo)

Estimated accumulated budget deficits down to Rs 905.78 crore

Our Correspondent
Kohima | February 27

Nagaland’s Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds finance portfolio today, today presented the Nagaland Budget for the year 2024-25 and termed it “a real people centric budget.”

Addressing a press conference after budget presentation on the second day of the fourth session of 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) in Kohima, he said that about 20 new initiatives have taken for the welfare of the people.

The budget, which prioritises infrastructure development, investment promotion, entrepreneurship development, and local economic rejuvenation, also introduced a welfare measure-the Chief Minister’s Universal Life Insurance Scheme to be fully funded by the State Government.

This scheme is a testament of the State’s continued commitment towards ensuring the financial security and protection of its citizens, complementing the Chief Minister’s Insurance Scheme introduced in the previous budget, he said. 

The CM’s Universal Life Insurance Scheme is designed to mitigate the profound impact that the untimely death of a family’s breadwinner and provide life insurance coverage for the breadwinner of the family and accidental insurance coverage for three other members of every family in the State.

Rio said the state revenue has increased a little bit, mostly from GST. 

To generate more resources for capital infrastructure, it becomes imperative to continuously take measures to augment our resources, Rio said adding” 

Towards this end, steps are being taken in the different revenue sectors. One particular area that needs special attention is the power sector.”

He said that the department is outsourcing metering and billing activities for the three main revenue intense districts of Kohima, Dimapur and Chümoukedima to address the chronic problems of poor billing to enhance revenue efficiency.

“It is a matter of concern to see the opposition of citizens in many parts of the State to installation of pre-paid meters. A huge portion of the losses comes from the communitised sector, where revenue realized is a fraction of the actual consumption.

Consumers in most villages today use equipment and appliances that consume high amounts of power but pay only a fraction of the cost. This has to be corrected to ensure that consumers pay as per actual consumption. 

The losses in the Power sector have now reached unmanageable levels, Rio said adding that during the current year 2023-24, the loss in revenue is Rs 280 crore as against the purchase cost of Rs. 595 crore, about 47% of the total power purchase.

“Our State has substantial reserves of oil and natural gas, coal, multi metal bearing magnetite, limestone and dimensional building stones, including known deposits of precious minerals such as cobalt and high grade nickel as per the Indian Bureau of Mines,” Rio said.

Despite efforts, factors like difficult terrain, poor connectivity, political reasons and land holding systems have prevented tapping of these valuable resources, he said adding “It is high time we make all possible efforts to harness these valuable resources, for that will bring tremendous economic benefits to our State.”

To carry the process forward, he said the government will have a thorough discussion with the people.

Further, Rio informed that the Third Nagaland State Finance Commission has submitted its report to the State Government.
The Commission has recommended the formula for sharing of revenues with the Urban Local Bodies and Urban Stations, and prescribed the vertical as well as horizontal formula for devolution.

This has been approved by the State Cabinet, Rio said in his budget speech. It has also recommended measures for improvements in resource mobilization, including measures to rationalize and cut down revenue expenditure, he added.

State cuts accumulated deficit
Meanwhile, in the main budget presentation showed a relatively improved financial position of the State with closing accumulated deficit reducing from the estimated Rs. 1374.17 crore in the Budget Estimates to Rs. 885.95 crore in the Revised Estimates.

With a current year’s transactions are estimated to result in a negative balance of Rs. 19.83 crore, the year 2024-25 is estimated to close with accumulated deficit of Rs. 905.78 crore, Rio stated.

The estimated gross receipts at Rs. 23978.05 crore, and gross expenditure at Rs. 23727.88 crore for the financial year 2024-25.

Main Highlights 
-CM’s Universal Life Insurance Scheme to provide life insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh on the demise of the breadwinner due to any cause; accidental insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh for the breadwinner and three other family members; scheme to cover every household in Nagaland. 
-2022 CSR Conclave impact: 28 projects completed; 14 more ongoing and many more under negotiations. 
-Govt to establish an Integrated Business Hub in Dimapur to serve as a Business and Innovation Centre
-Collaboration with Nagaland Rural Bank to promote 200 new Banking Correspondents to in Unbanked Blocks with use of micro ATMs.
-688 loans approved under the CM’s Micro Finance Initiative; outlay of Rs 3,000 lakh for 2024-25
-CMHI: has 38 public hospitals and 23 private hospitals in the State and 48 hospitals outside Nagaland empanelled
- Rs. 14,850 lakh allocated for the Foothill Road under the scheme of Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment 
-Rs. 3000 lakh earmarked for maintenance of various roads in the State. 
-Rs 180 crore has been sanctioned under PM DevINE for the areas of Eastern Nagaland