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CM Neiphiu Rio presents budget with a deficit of Rs 2235.85 Crores for the year 2019-2020

(CM Neiphiu Rio presenting the budget speech during the 5th Session of 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on February 13, 2020 | Photo: DIPR)

Dimapur, February 13 (NE): Chief Minister and Minister-In Charge Finance, Shri Neiphiu Rio in the budget proposal for the financial year 2020-21, estimated gross receipts at Rs. 20826.02 crore and gross expenditure at Rs. 21049.87 crore. Rio said that with the Revised Estimates of the Union Budget, the share of State taxes has been reduced to Rs. 3267 crore, a reduction of Rs. 939 crore. As a result, he said, the year 2019-2020 is estimated to close with a deficit of Rs. 2234.85 crore.

Chief Minister and Minister-in-Charge Finance, Shri Neiphiu Rio presenting the budget for the year 2020-21 in the august house on February Thirteen however, mentioned that the financial year 2020-21 marks the commencement of the Fifteenth Finance Commission Award period.

CM Neiphiu Rio said that the tenure of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has been extended by another year upto October 2020 so the submission of the final report of the Commission has been delayed. The Commission has however submitted its report for the year 2020-21 and the Commission will be submitting a separate report for five (5) years for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 by October 2020 accordingly with a full budget.

Rio mentioned that with the recent visit of the two Members of the Fifteenth Finance Commission – Dr. Ashok Lahiri and Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, discussions with them was meaningful and have conveyed to them the problems the State faces due to the discontinuation of SPA funding, which has left the State with a financial liability of Rs. 529 crore and the increase in financial problems due to the high number of Government employees and the resulting high salary expenditure. They were also briefed on the need for support of completion on the Trans National Highway (Foothill Road) and Ciethu Airport. The government has also requested the Commission to give due consideration in covering the revenue deficit and recommending State Specific grants to ensure that there is a minimum level of development in the State, since the Fourteenth Finance Commission had not recommended State Specific Grants citing the increased devolution to States by 10% from 32% to 42% but this increased devolution did not benefit the State since it continue to remain revenue deficit even after the awards.

In Indo-Naga political issue, Chief Minister stated that the resolution of the issue has been the PDA Government’s most important agenda. He appreciated the civil society organisations, Tribal Hohos, Church bodies, NGOs and all sections of the people who have contributed significantly to strengthen the peace process. Following the meeting of the JLF on 12th February 2020, a Core Committee has been constituted with the task of meeting all the stakeholders in the Peace Process to bring out more clarity and consensus, he added

He appealed to the negotiating parties to listen to the cry of the people and sincerely work towards achievement of lasting peace and urged the Centre to make extra efforts to usher in an early political settlement that is honourable, one that upholds the democratic political rights of the Nagas.

On Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 which has created serious apprehensions in the minds of the people, he said that the PDA Government had always maintained a consistent stand from the very beginning that Nagaland is protected under, the provisions of Article 371(A) of the Constitution and the ILP Regulation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. On consultation with all the stakeholders including the civil societies and tribal hohos it was collectively resolved to oppose the bill while observing that Nagaland is protected under the special provisions on 31st January 2019.

The State Government along with the Naga civil society, tribal hoho representatives, political parties and NGOs took up the matter with the Government of India wherein it was committed that Nagaland would be exempted in view of the ILP regime of BEFR 1873 on 3rd December 2019.

He also highlighted briefly on some of the innovative steps by the Department of YRS to take up a program called “Career Guidance and Employability Skills Development Program” during the next financial year. The program will help to create career awareness among 2000 students and help them to make informed decisions about their future. He stated that Rs. 1.25 crore has been earmarked for this initiative during 2020-21 and for improvement of sports infrastructure, Rs. 10 crore has been marked for installation of astro turf football grounds at Chumukedima Police Complex and at Loyem Memorial Ground, Tuensang.

CM said that to promote music industry in the State, TAFMA has partnered with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), collaborated with multinational companies and FM stations to promote musicians. The State has signed agreements with Dr. A. R. Rahman and Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt to mentor and promote musicians and artists. Upcoming projects include residencies, scholarships, exchange programmes with knowledge partners and collaborations with art institutions.

With rubber cultivation having the potential to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth in the State, he said Rs. 2 crore has been set aside for purchase of rubber rollers that will cover 10% of the mature tapping plants. Under Land Resources Department, rubber cultivation has expanded to a coverage of 19,077 hectares with further plan to add 8,280 hectares.

To improve the security, CM said, the State Police is improving basic infrastructure facilities along the border to enhance security and striking capacity of State Police.

To bring about more transparency and efficiency, he urged all the Departments to adopt all possible measures to migrate to online platforms.

Rio said that the Department of School Education has initiated steps to revive old culture and traditional values and improve quality of learning through morung traditional methods in partnership with NGO’S in Tuensang and Longleng. He announced that a Professional College of Engineering is being set up at Tsurangsa, Mokokchung.

While stating that tourism and related service is one of the key areas for growth of local economy, he said the State government has signed an MoU with Airbnb. With Nagas being known for their hospitality, he added, it is about time to monetize such hospitality in order to boost the economy.

For Disaster Management, he said, the Government of India has approved for setting up a Regional Emergency Management Training Institute and Regional Response Centre at Chiechama, for the State as well as the NE region.

During the financial year 2019-2020, the Department of Underdeveloped Area has given special emphasis to development and production of apparel, clothing line and handicrafts. Rio said that, fashion brand ‘Mongken’ was launched in Delhi to promote opportunities for local designers and local artisans.

To increase the tax base of the State, CM said that some of the measures taken by the State government were to levy a onetime registration fee for different types of heavy machineries and non-transport vehicles and equipment purchased within the State as well as brought into the State for commercial activities at the rate of 3% of the original cost of the vehicle for those purchased within the State for the first 10 years.

For old vehicles or machinery that are not registered in the State and are yet to complete 10 years and plying in the State for commercial activities shall be required to pay a one time rate of 3% of the original cost of the vehicle, allowing depreciation of 7% till the age of the vehicle reach 10 years.

In petroleum sector, duty on petroleum products has been enhanced from 10% to 14.5% for diesel and 20.38% for petrol and other motor spirit to 25%. Road Maintenance Cess on petroleum products has been raised to Rs. 2 per litre. This measure he said will become effective in midnight of February Fifteen, 2020, said the press release from DIPR.

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