Nagaland

NPF demands enquiry into financial management of COVID-19 Pandemic

NPF demands enquiry into financial management of COVID-19 Pandemic

Kohima, June 02 (NEx): The Naga People’s Front Legislature Party (NPFLP) demanded that an Inquiry Committee comprising of members from all political parties be set up immediately to enquire into the detailed financial management with regard to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The NPF also demanded that a detailed White Paper on all the funds received and expenditures incurred thereof from 2020-21 to 2021-2022 along with all relevant methodology of grants, processes or procurement, disbursement criteria etc be published in the interest of the public.

The opposition party raised questions to the State Government and demanded to immediately clarify with detailed replies for the larger interest of public, after the Health & Family Welfare Department, GoN, issued a clarification on mobilization of funds for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The party pointed out that Finance Department clarification shows that Additional funds provided to Dept. of Health & Family Welfare is Rs. 71.18 crore during 2020-21. Mentioning that rural areas have been systematically neglected, the NPF enquired the level of preparedness and management of infrastructure like District Hospital, CHCs, PHCs and Sub-centres in rural areas.

It also enquired into the criteria of funds allocated to all the respective DDMAs, the Expenditure of the Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA) for COVID activities being Rs. 61.60 crore during 2020-21.

Referring to the Chief Minister’s statement, the party asked how and why Rs. 30 crore has been granted to CIHSR, a private hospital, when the State’s finances are stretched. It also enquired Whether the State Government is going to provide free treatment to COVID – 19 Patients in CIHSR hospital.

The NPF party also lamented that the Leader of the Opposition was not consulted on the LADP deduction of 25% which includes 159% from Common Pool Fund and another 10% from the normal. It demanded the State Government to explain how and under what circumstances, details and reasons such arbitrary decision was taken.

Further, regarding the purchase of foodgrains for distribution, the state govt reported that Rs. 3.60 crore has been incurred. The opposition asked how much of this has been distributed to poor and needy persons and what is the expenditure for the same for the year 2021-22?

In the recent recruitment of Doctors by the DHFW, 40 Medical Officers were appointed on temporary basis on May 17th, 2021 in the Pay Matrix 56100- 177500 (Pay Level 13) while in a separate order issued the same day, 16 Medical Officers were appointed on temporary basis with fixed pay of Rs 72,832 per month against deputation and study leave vacancies. When both these batches of appointments were made with the same concurrence, on what basis were they given separate remunerations?, the opposition asked.

The DHFW issued a Corrigendum on May 31st, 2021 stating that the temporary engagement of 16 doctors against study leave and deputation vacancies would be in the scale pay of Level 13 and not as rendered. Therefore, the NPFLP questioned why the government can’t take a uniform decision when concurrence is the same.

It also asked the Finance Department to explain how the BSL labs in Dimapur and Kohima, Oxygen Plants in Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung etc have been set up under which funds and if the fund for these infrastructure facilities are included under Finance Department clarification.

Mentioning that Pro-rata cut of 20% during 2021-2022 is being made mainly to mobilize additional funds for providing free COVID-19 vaccines and other COVID-19 related activities, the opposition enquired why the State Government is spending more on other activities instead of procurement of COVID-19 vaccines when emerging data is showing that most of the COVID-19 fatalities are from amongst the unvaccinated persons. As per the report of the government, an amount of only Rs. 7.45 crore is indicated for vaccine purchase, while the savings from 20% pro-rata cut amounting to Rs. 47.69 crore is shown and additional funds provided during 2021-22 is 62.75 crore.

The NPFLP alleged that the Finance Department’s clarification is nothing but a hasty document aimed to confuse people and that receipts have been mixed up with expenditure, while receipts in most cases have not been mentioned. Savings from 15% pro-rata cut during 2020-21 amounting to Rs. 36.64 crore and 20% during 2021-2022 amounting to Rs. 47.69 crore is shown. But what was the total amount realised before expenditure was incurred and savings made? Why funds received from Central Government for COVID (Rs. 22.26 crore) and Funds received from NEC for COVID (Rs. 3 crore) are mixed up under expenditure statement?, the opposition questions.

Pointing out all the mentioned, the opposition demanded that a detailed White Paper on all the funds received and expenditures incurred thereof from 2020-21 to 2021-2022 along with all relevant methodology of grants, processes or procurement, disbursement criteria etc be published in the interest of the public. An Inquiry Committee comprising of members from all political parties should be set up immediately to enquire into the detailed financial management with regard to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it said.

It also demanded that the State Government spell out its policy on the matter of resultant vacancies from deaths and retirements and appointments thereof, given the fact that all appointments are banned.