People Friendly Budget, For Self-Sustaining Economy: CM Neiphiu Rio

People Friendly Budget, For Self-Sustaining Economy: CM Neiphiu Rio

Kohima, February 19 (NEx): The Chief Minister of Nagaland and Minister in Charge of Finance, Neiphiu Rio stated that the Budget for 2021-22 was people friendly, with special focus on Agri and Allied sectors and to make the State’s economy self-sustaining.

Chief Minister added that the austerity measures taken by the Government has managed to cut down on Government expenses amounting to about Rs. 400 crore.

Budget 2021-22 Highlights;

The Department of Fire Services has been provided Rs.300 lakhs. The department is presently working to establish a Regional Emergency Management Training Institute (REMTI) and Regional Response Centre at Chiechama, Kohima District, for the State as well as the region for disaster management and its mitigation. The Department of Treasuries and Accounts has been provided Rs.150.41 lakhs for construction of staff quarters.

The Department of Border Affairs has been provided Rs.200 lakhs for construction works. The Department of Parliamentary Affairs has been provided Rs.100 lakhs for construction of staff quarters. The Taxes Department has been provided Rs.90.56 lakhs for construction of staff quarters. The Village Guards has been provided Rs.300 lakhs for construction of training ground, for prefabrication infrastructure and firing range.

The Election Department has been provided Rs. 150 lakhs for construction of warehouse for storage of EVMs and VVPATs. The Home Department has been provided Rs.150 lakhs for the State Houses, and Rs. 50 lakhs for disaster management. The Department of Tribal Affairs has been provided Rs.50 lakhs for construction of directorate building and staff quarters. The Department of Minority Affairs has been provided Rs.75 lakhs for various construction works in Dimapur area.

With the inauguration of Nagaland’s newest district Noklak, on January 20th, 2021, Rio congratulated the people of Noklak district who have come a long way, making significant contributions towards the progress of the State. Rio also said that with Noklak being located on the Indo-Myanmar border, Noklak has more than 80 kilometres of international border, and the roots of the formation of the now legendary Village Guards took place under its jurisdiction and hence he has given it the name of “Frontier District”.

Rio added that the State Government will undertake all possible measures to elevate the district on human and infrastructure development especially in the fields of Administration, Police, youth empowerment, education and healthcare and to begin with, the government would undertake construction of office complexes for Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, a Town Hall and a godown for food grains. He also added that to improve health care facilities, the linked Anti-Retroviral Therapy Centre of CHC at Noklak is being upgraded to Anti-Retroviral Centre and will upgrade the 30 bedded CHC at Noklak to District Hospital by adding another 20 beds under NHM.

CM Rio mentioned that a large number of assets is created every year from our own developmental funds as well as CSS funds and it is of utmost importance to ensure that adequate provision is made for their maintenance and upkeep so that these assets do not deteriorate and accordingly, despite the resource constraints we are faced with, a provision of Rs.147.62 crore during 2021-22 for maintenance of assets is being made.

On employment sector, Rio said that the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the functioning of the IDAN but during the pandemic the IDAN turned its attention to the serious issue of almost 20,000 people who had returned to the State in the wake of the Pandemic. Along with designing a “Digital Employment Exchange” in collaboration with the IT and the Employment Departments, it has also launched an e-commerce platform called the “Yellow Chain” to help the ‘returnees’ to try and start their own business online. To explore the potential and establish an organic fibre industry in the State, Rio said IDAN enabled creation of a consortium of private entrepreneurs already engaged in the sector and is making efforts to link them to financial institutions as well as the global market.

CM Rio stated that the Planning and Coordination Department has been provided Rs. 500 lakhs and under the Chief Minister’s Corpus Fund, Rio said the department has sponsored Naga students to undergo training in skill development at Ishwarpuram Institute, Fugoan, Pune. State Council of Educational Research and Training has been provided Rs.100 lakhs where Polytechnics at Aboi, Peren and Wokha, already set up and academic sessions is to become functional from July 2021 in all the three institutes.

The Department of Youth Resources & Sports has been provided Rs.790 lakhs, of this he said Rs. 300 lakhs was earmarked for capacity building for youth empowerment by launching a Career & Employability Skill Development Program designed for students pursuing 12th standard in all Government Higher Secondary schools. He also mentioned that funds will be earmarked for sports academies in prioritised disciplines to be established in collaboration with the sports federations, and local leagues will be launched to create a positive atmosphere of sports culture that will contribute to the economy and create gainful careers in the sports and related industry.

The Department of Urban Development has been provided Rs.350.16 lakhs for construction of office at Kiphire, construction of P. Shilu Ao Memorial Park at Mokokchung and upgradation of marketing centre of Development Authority Nagaland since the district headquarters have developed into urban spaces with hardly any common space for physical activities, social interaction and recreation, the Government has decided to create public parks in all the district headquarters equipped with outdoor exercise equipment, walking tracks and aesthetically landscaped spaces.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio congratulated the Press and Media community for their positive contribution and for upholding the spirit of democracy and for rendering commendable service during the COVID pandemic. He further added that this year, the government would introduce special capacity building and exposure programmes for the media in collaboration with central agencies and international institutions under our innovative programme initiatives.

CM Rio remarked that the entire world was deeply affected due to COVID -19 pandemic stating that the main impact of the pandemic was in the economic sector, as it has seriously impacted the livelihood and income of the people as well as the income and financial health of the Government. Rio expressed happiness that despite these circumstances India managed to come out with a vaccine in record time and Rio further endeavoured that Nagaland too must be part of India’s growth story.

On the Naga political issue, CM Rio mentioned that the early resolution of the Naga political issue remains at the top of the Government’s political agenda. He added that the unanimous adoption of the 7-Point resolution in the meeting sent the right message of unity and solidarity to all sections, especially to the negotiating parties of the Indo-Naga political dialogue. He said that the members will continue to collectively play the role of active facilitator in the political negotiations and appealed to the negotiating parties of the political dialogue to expedite the negotiations and bring about the much desired solution which will pave the way for a new era of growth, development and all round progress.

CM Rio mentioned that in the gloom of the pandemic, civil societies, tribal Hohos, church organisations, student and youth bodies, NGOs, traditional institutions and individuals joined hands with the State Government and its agencies to combat the pandemic. He pointed out that the healthcare workers put in extra hours every day and worked with extraordinary dedication to make our citizens feel safe and secure.

He added that Churches came forward and prepared food for quarantine centres, day in and day out and Youth volunteers, students and traditional institutions came forward, to work with frontline workers. He also appreciated the establishment of the Central Integrated Control Room which operated as the War Room, was a model for many other states. He said that the crisis gave us the opportunity to improve the overall health facilities and infrastructure all over the State.

CM Rio also extended sincere appreciation to the generous contributions and support from corporate houses, private companies, government institutions, service associations, NGOs and individuals from all walks of life towards fighting the pandemic and for donations to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

On sectorial allocation, CM Rio said that the budget for the year 2021-22 is affected by the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. However, seeing the steady pace of recovery of the country’s economy, he said that the State Developmental Outlay for 2021-22 has been fixed at Rs.700 crore which is an increase of 9.55% over the Plan size of 2020-21. He also said that to ensure a smooth flow of Central funds, Rs. 250 crore has been allocated towards State Matching Share for Central Schemes including that of DoNER and NEC. The Government has also made efforts to tap funding for roads and other key infrastructure projects under the scheme of Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure with Rs. 200 crore interest free loan assistance.

Further, he said that under 15th Finance Commission Awards, several projects for improvement of health infrastructure, road maintenance, construction of High Court Complex, new Raj Bhavan, mini landing strips and improvement of facilities for fire services in the districts will be taken up from 2021-22 onwards. Rio also mentioned that Rs. 307.31 crore is kept in provision for Externally Aided Projects.

(With inputs from DIPR)