CM assures transparency; end of VIP culture

CM assures transparency; end of VIP culture
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Kohima, March 23: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today assured that his Government will provide good governance, transparency and accountability in administration and remove VIP culture.
“Government will also use modern information technology tools to improve governance and increase the adoption of e-governance at all levels,” he said in his budget speech.
Rio said all departments will mandatorily have websites and portals where all information about the employees, the activities of the departments, ongoing projects, etc., will be displayed. Further, to boost the use of Information Technology for good governance, the Information Technology Department and the National Informatics Centre Nagaland will pool their resources together to bring the State fully into the age of information technology so that efficiency and productivity of the Government is enhanced, he said.
Developmental issues
Rio said that power sector remains an area of concern due to the huge losses being incurred annually because of poor revenue collection.
He said that during the 13th Finance Commission period, the total loss of revenue on account of Power was Rs 963.34 crores. During the 14th Finance Commission period which is in progress, he said the projected total loss of revenue on account of power is Rs 1100 crores, while during the year 2017-18 alone, the loss of revenue on account of power was Rs 309.97 crores and in 2018-19, it is projected at Rs 318 crores.
“A substantial reason for the huge revenue losses in the power sector was non-payment of bills and power theft,” he said while appealing to the public to develop the culture of paying what we use.
Rio also asked all government departments to ensure first priority is accorded to payment of power dues.
“Unless serious efforts are made to check such negative trends, huge amounts of scarce resources will go down the drain without any productivity,” he said.
Nonetheless, Rio said power sector is witnessing positive improvements in transmission infrastructure because of which power supply in Kohima, Dimapur and Peren districts will become more stable.
Reforms have also been introduced in the billing and collection activities in Kohima, Dimapur, Chumukedima, Phek, Zunheboto, Wokha, Mon and Tuensang towns through online payment systems including facility for payment using Point of Sale swipe machines at Kohima and Dimapur, he informed.
“During 2018- 19, Rio proposed to provide an amount of Rs 19 crores for maintenance which is an increase of 35.71% over 2017-18.
Meanwhile, the CM requested all citizens to observe “Earth Hour” on March 24 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm by shutting down non essential lights and electrical appliances in their respective homes for one hour.
“This is perhaps the biggest grassroots movement that seeks to solve the problem of global warming, and preserve our only planet for the future generations,” he said.
Eastern Nagaland
Rio said that PDA government has committed to make special interventions to address continuing issues of imbalance in development of the Eastern Naga areas with special focus on creating key infrastructural facilities as well as capacity building to bring them at par with other parts the state.
“We would specially focus on ensuring connectivity of all block headquarters, provision of Broadband connectivity, ensuring availability of doctors in hospitals to ensure that the ENPO areas have better social and physical infrastructure,” he said.
Rio said that every department will be asked to ensure focused attention on implementation of schemes in the Eastern Nagaland areas.
Nagaland coffee
Rio said coffee plantation in the state has received a big boost after the Land Resource Department tied up with Nobel Cause Company of South Africa for partnership in marketing for the next 30 years. Coffee plantation is being taken up in all favourable districts of the State, he said.
Education
The Chief Minister said that steps will be taken by the government to combat persistent problems such as proxy and bogus teachers and ghost employees in the education sector.
“Attention will also be given to improve infrastructure and facilities for both schools and colleges. We will strive to make quality education accessible to all students,” Rio said in his budget speech here on the Floor of the House.
Rio also announced a new insurance scheme for students studying outside the state.
“All students who are registered will be covered for a sum of Rs 5 lakhs in the unfortunate event of death,” he said.
The scheme will also enable to collect data and information on the number of students who are undergoing academic courses all over the country, he said adding that the government will release the modalities of the scheme at the earliest.
“My government accords top priority to providing better avenues for our students in the area of higher and technical studies,” he said.
For this, steps will be taken to enhance technical and vocational skills as well as specialized studies.
Stating that several Naga youth have made a mark for themselves in the field of music, fashion, sports, filmmaking and business, he said “Such initiatives will be given a fillip by providing support to skill development and promotion of entrepreneurship which is a priority are of the government.”
Also assuring to strive to provide better avenues for job placements to students, he said that the government will set up training centres as well as coaching centres to assist the youth to perform better in the common entrance exams and in the civil service exams.
“We will also finalise a scheme to provide financial incentives to Naga students who qualify for the interview of civil services examinations conducted by UPSC to enable them to avail of professional coaching,” Rio said.
State undertakings
Stating that State corporations and undertakings were initially created to enable them to be profit generating ventures for the state government in the form of equity and dividends as well as to provide employment, Rio regretted that there are many state corporations and undertakings, which are almost non-functional.
“Despite huge investments by the state government, many corporations have failed to be viable and have instead become huge burdens to the state,” he said.
He said even during 2017-18, an amount of Rs 44.34 crores was spent by way of providing grant-in-aid to meet their establishment costs, mainly for salaries.
Rio proposed to have a serious look into the functioning of these corporations by setting up a special committee, and to close down the non-performing ones by offering a one-time golden handshake to its employees.
Rio also announced that a new tourism policy will be formulated and it will promote innovation and creativity that reflects the energy of youths, the colours and vibrancy of culture and the richness of heritage.
He also proposed to promote tribal festivals into 2 to 3 days by organizing Mini Hornbill festivals in various districts.
He said such approach will enable the tourists to visit the state throughout the year.
In December this series of Mini Hornbill Festivals will culminate with the main Hornbill Festival- the “Festival of Festivals,” he told the floor of the House in his budget speech.
An amount of Rs 2 crores will be kept aside for capacity building exercises for the tourism and tourism related industry and conduct of tourism centric seminars, training of tour operators, promotions, writers meet etc.
Entry of tourists into Nagaland will be made smoother with online ILP system for tourists, he said. He said tourist circuits and facilities will be promoted and marketed using internet enabled tools.
Rio maintained that Hornbill festival has already gained recognition and popularity even outside the country.
“Our aim is to make this festival one of the premier cultural tourism festivals in South East Asia,” he said.
(Page News Service)