Democratic norms are put to test in Nagaland: TR Zeliang

Democratic norms are put to test in Nagaland. Covid cess is to tax the rich and help the poor, Chief Minister replies to TR Zeliang

Kohima, May 09 (NE): Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister TR Zeliang slammed the government over Covid cess levied on Diesel, Petrol and other motor spirit on Friday, May 08, 2020.

Taking to social media TR said, despite the fact that many have voiced out demanding a rollback against the authoritative and misplaced decision of the Government to impose Covid cess, the Government remains adamant and deaf to the genuine appeals of the consumers.

Democratic norms are being put to test in Nagaland. While in any democratic setup of governance, it is of the people, by the people, for the people. In Nagaland it is far from this fact, he added.

Further, it is important for the people to know that the Government has issued a notification for a 15% pro-rata cut, from both plan and non-plan in every department, against the voted budget of 2020-2021 to be used in the fight against COVID19.

This 15% pro-rata cut would amount to huge numbers, which will all be at the discretion of the Finance Minister of the State who is also the Chief Minister.

Still imposing Covid cess on petroleum products shows that this Government only wants more from the people.

In order that transparency and accountability is maintained, total amount accumulated and how it is being utilised should be put in public domain as it is the people’s money to be used in developmental activities of the State after-all, he added.

In an all party meeting held recently at Kohima, Chief Minister replying to TR on being asked about the logic behind imposing the Covid cess, said that it is to tax the rich and help the poor.

TR questioned; are the rich being taxed and the poor benefitting from it? Well, the truth is, the poor and weaker section of the society will ultimately bear for the cost of the cess indirectly as prices of commodities will now exponentially climb up as a result of it.

Arbitrary decision by the Finance Minister-Incharge, without any consultation with stakeholders or his Cabinet or for that matter even the Opposition Members, who are giving unconditional support in the fight against COVID19, is very unfortunate and reeks of insincerity in the whole process of taxing the people of the State, he added.

The government says that the fight against COVID19 is a collective effort but as is evident, they do not want a collective effort of the people but rather choose to take arbitrary decisions regardless of its negative impact on the people of the State, TR stated.