Dimapur, March 4: The Naga Peoples Front (NPF) today alleged that Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio failed to provide any answer to the queries of the Leader of Opposition (LoP), T R Zeliang related to the Budget 2019-20, which was presented on February 25 last.
In a press release issued by its Press Bureau, the NPF stated that the LoP during the debate on Budget 2019-20 had pointed out anomalies in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) where the growth rate of GST in the State had shown diminishing returns.
It said in 2017-18, it was 25% which decreased to 11.4% in 2018-19 and in 2019-20, it was estimated at 9.72%. Therefore, the LoP had questioned the Chief Minister on the floor of the Assembly as to how GST in the State was projecting a trend of diminishing return, but the Chief Minister failed to come up with any answers on the floor of the Assembly and as such, he was asked by the LoP to publish his answers in the local dailies.
The NPF alleged that nothing has been clarified in the local dailies till date.
The NPF said the additional fund released from April 1, 2018 till date as replied by Chief Minister, the amount was Rs 735.84 crore which included re-imbursement amount of Rs. 220.09 Cr. Zeliang sought to know how the remaining amount of Rs. 514.75 Cr. after deducting re-imbursement amount of Rs. 220.09 Cr. was spent and through which Department but despite the request of the LoP to publish the same in the local dailies due to paucity of time during the debate, till date the Chief Minister has failed to clarify, the NPF said. LoP, TR Zeliang had also queried on why the Department had failed to specify the break-up amount or the scheme under which re-imbursement had taken place but the same remains unanswered as well, it added.
In regard to Kiphire Aspirational District, the LoP had asked the Chief Minister to clarify on why the release of Rs. 1 crore set up for taking up projects to meet the developmental gaps in Kiphire District was delayed. The NPF said the LoP also sought to know how much expenditure was incurred on the Cabinet Meeting held at Kiphire Dist HQ on November 9, 2018 but neither was the query answered on the floor of the Assembly nor has it been clarified in the local dailies till today.
“Despite the Cabinet Meeting that took place at Kiphire Dist HQ. on November 9, 2018; there is nothing on the ground that has taken place till today. Even, the District Planning & Development Board (DP&DB) of Kiphire District during its monthly Meeting held on February 19, 2019 had clearly stated that no fund had been allotted to the District,” it claimed.
The NPF also pointed out that the Chief Minister failed to provide any answer on the LoP’s query as to how the Government intended to cut down the number of Government employees.
The LoP had also sought to know under which Head of Account the ex-gratia for students should be listed but he is still awaiting reply, the NPF said adding both the Governor and Chief Minister claimed timely release of Student Scholarship in the last concluded Session but however, the amount was received by the State Government only in December 2018. The Student community is yet to receive the final installment of the backlog for 2017-2018 while payment against the year 2018-2019 is still pending which the Chief Minister, intentionally or otherwise, failed to clarify in his reply, the NPF added.
The NPF also pointed out that the Budget failed to provide details on how the money released by the Government of India under SPA during the early part of 2018 and during January 2019 against backlog of SPA was utilized .
The NPF condemned the “silence and utter failure” of the Chief Minister to provide any answer to the queries of the LoP which was raised on the floor of the Assembly.
It further asked the Chief Minister to clarify to the queries in the local dailies as the Government is answerable on any issue of public importance. (Page News Service)