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Nagaland CM affirms Govt. is working to undertake a rationalization exercise

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, MARCH 28: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today affirmed that the Government is working to undertake a rationalization exercise to address the issue of shortages of teachers in all Government schools across the State.
Responding to the debate on the discussion on the budget 2023-2024 in the Assembly today, Rio said that the Externally Aided Proggramme programme NECTAR, the Lighthouse Projec,t funded by World Bank, under the School Education Department, is mainly for governance and management of School eco systems and there is no scope for appointment of Teachers under this scheme.
However, on Members asking for redeployment of teachers in Government schools, he said the Department of School Education will undertake a rationalization exercise very soon to address the issue of Teacher shortages.
“It is also understood that many of the schools have Teacher shortages due to absenteeism. This issue will be addressed through the introduction of the “Teacher Attendance Monitoring App’ during the current year”, he said.
On request of MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu to change the designation of Advisors to Minister of State, he said that the issue needs to be discussed and it is beyond the purview of the Government since the Court has already struck down the nomenclature ‘Parliamentary Secretary” in its adjudication when the downsizing came into effect.
For a small State like Nagaland, the Council of Ministers is limited to Chief Minister and other 11 Ministers, he added. Nonetheless, he said that Advisors are accommodated to include representation of all tribes in the Government.
“It will have to be examined from a legal perspective to ascertain whether such a move is possible. We have to remember that there is the issue of ‘Office of Profit’ that may invite disqualification if we are not careful”, he said.
“A small State like ours with many tribes needs to be represented in the Cabinet but unable to be accommodated”, he said.
He also admitted to have omitted to mention JD (U) in his speech relating to the support extended by all political parties. “This is due to an inadvertent omission which is sincerely regretted. I request that this may be corrected in the records”, he said.
Regarding the suggestion that Finance Department brief the Members on financial issues, he said it is a welcome suggestion. The State Finance Department is prepared to brief the Hon’ble Members of the House in case they so desire, after the close of the financial year, he said.
On incomplete projects, Rio informed that to make the main Athletic Stadium of the Multi Disciplinary Sports Complex (MDSC) at Dimapur functional, a DPR of Rs. 177 crore was prepared, out of which Rs. 20 crore has already been provided under Special Assistance during 2022-23. “We will consider more allocation of funds in the coming days based on work progress”, he said.
On the new High Court building, he said an amount of Rs. 30 crore has been provided under Special Assistance during 2022-23. “Based on the work progress, we shall examine providing of more funds in the coming days”, he said.
The two Multi Level Parkings in Kohima have been completed under Kohima Smart City Development Limited, and are ready for inauguration, he said.
On the issue of GST, he clarified that Section 43 has been omitted in its entirety while Section 41 is intact. He said that the State Finance Department will examine advance release of GST bills.
Rio said that Oil and Natural Gas exploration and extraction are very crucial for development of the State. However, for many years Assam has been granting licences in DAB areas citing them as reserved forests, he said adding that Nagaland has objected to this hence on the insistence of the Government and of the Ministries of Home Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Assam Government has agreed for sharing of Royalties in DAB areas A,B and C on a 50:50 basis for licenses already granted by Assam.
“We have also demanded that this dispensation should cover D, E, and F sectors of DAB as well”, he said adding that in case it is not possible to agree to this arrangement we have also agreed to keep the Royalty amounting in ESCROW Accounts till such time the matter is amicably resolved.
“We have also taken a stand that first the matter in DAB areas be resolved as Nagaland is already losing a huge amount of revenue”, he said.
The matter regarding resumption of oil exploration in rest of the State will be taken up later for which an MOU is to be signed between the State and Central Government whereby the rights of the State under Article 371 (A) are adequately protected, he said.
In this, Rio informed that the comments of Central Government and the Learned Advocate General are awaited at present on this matter.
Regarding exploration activities at Tokishe, he clarified that once the same came to the knowledge of the Government, they were stopped. However, ONGC have requested permission to allow them to release the pressure accumulated inside to avoid bursting since it will cause environmental damage, he said.
Activities at Nikihe have been stopped, he said.
On the over-all Budget 2023-24, Rio said that there is huge improvement on account of the huge release of CSS backlog as well as Cash Deposit.
“In view of improved resources the State Government was able to release the CSS backlog of Rs. 728 crore during July 2022, and in the course of the year, an amount of Rs. 150 crore of funds kept in CD. Thus there was a huge reduction in liabilities”, he said.
In the last few years the quality of the State finances have shown substantive improvement, he said adding that despite the damage to the economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget of 2022-23 showed a positive balance of Rs. 150.30 crore in the Current Account Transactions.
Even in the current budget for the year 2023-24, there is a positive balance of Rs. 60 crore in the Current Account Transactions only due to the high withdrawals in GPF the current transactions show a minus balance of Rs. 40 crore, said Rio.
Meanwhile, Rio replying to issues raised by NPF MLA Achumbemo Kikon, said that his concerns Bhandari A/C in Wokha district on creating the Bhandari Sub-Divisional and Planning Board (SDPB), human animal conflict are being looked into while increasing of more LADP fund of MLAs from Rs 1.5 crore, including ts 50 lack iconic project, will be granted after the economic condition of the State improves.
Expressing appreciation to all Members with their valuable views and opinions to add value to the debates and discussions on the Budget 2023-24 on the floor of the House, the Chief Minister concluded assuring to look into the issues raised and that they would be given the deserved importance.
Rio also requested the Members to continue to make positive contributions to the debates that take place on the floor of this august House in the days to come.
(Page News Service)