KOHIMA, MARCH 24: The Nagaland Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed Rs 24,239.96 crore budget for the fiscal 2022-23 by voice vote.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the Finance portfolio, presenting the budget in the House on March 22, said that transactions of the new financial year 2022-23 would end with a positive balance of Rs 150.30 crore making it a surplus budget.
However, due to the negative opening balance of Rs. 2363.04 crore (accumulated deficit over the years), the financial year 2022-23 is estimated to close with a negative balance of Rs. 2212.74 crore.
With the 60 members of the House coming together as United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Government in September 2021, none of the members raised any cut motions nor was any clarification sought while passing the budget.
The budget was passed through the Nagaland Appropriation (No. 2) Bill which authorises payment and appropriation of Rs 24,239,49,96,000 from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the State of Nagaland to the services of the year ending on March 31, 2023.
The House also passed the supplementary demands for grants for the fiscal 2021-22 amounting to Rs 2,805 crore by voice vote through the Nagaland Appropriation (No. 2) Bill 2022.
The Nagaland Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2022 was also passed during the day.
The NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer subsequently adjourned the House sine die.
Legislators describe the Budget 2022-23 as best ever, progressive and visionary budget Initiating the general discussion on the budget in the Assembly on Thursday, Minister for Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu described the budget as the best ever budget which also include introduction of welfare schemes like the Chief Minister’s Micro Finance.
He said the scheme will make credit more affordable and available to individuals, Self-Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organisations.
In this, the Government will provide for either subsidy or interest subvention against identified activities. He also said that allocating Rs. 2 crores for the Forest Department for plantation of fruits and trees of economic importance was a good initiative since our environment could be further protected with the coming up of this programme.
He also lauded the leader of the house for amicably resolved land issues at the proposed 186 MW hydro power project, Dikhu.
MLA Dr Chotisuh Sazo said that while almost 80% of the State’s population depends on agriculture and allied sectors for livelihoods, Nagaland faced drought-like situation with farmers losing their cultivation and produce. He therefore urged the concerned authority to mitigate the farmers’ loss by providing disaster compensation and also rice.
He also highlighted the lack of teachers, especially science, maths and Hindi, in Government schools in Chozuba area as the Government had banned new appointments against retired vacancies during the COVID period.
On the Housing for All scheme, he urged the Government to release the pending funds for beneficiaries at the earliest. In this, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio replied that there were some banking related problems which have been sorted out and the payments would be released soon.
Minister for Housing and Mechanical, Tongpang Ozukum, dwelling on the Naga Political Issue, affirmed that the 60 elected representatives of Nagaland are the stakeholders of the issue.
Wondering how serious the elected members of the other Naga-inhabited areas in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur are on the issue, he asserted that the 60 members in NLA are very serious and equally concerned like the Naga political groups for an early solution.
“NPI still remains the top most agenda for the Naga people and the UDA Government, he said while affirming that as long as they remain in the House they will continue to play the role of active facilitator. “No one should doubt our role on the Naga issue”, he said.
He also assured that the UDA Government under Rio is serious about completing the construction of mega project Nagaland Foothill Road and thanked Rio for providing Rs 30 crore in the budget.
Considering the seriousness, all must support and cooperate with the CM and Government, he appealed.
Stating that Special Area Projects, which has iconic projects for all 60 constituencies in the State is a people’s project, he pleaded that this should continue in future too.
He said the Budget 2022-23 is not only for the all-round development of the State but a visionary budget where huge investment has been made on the youth for posterity.
MLA Chumben Murry congratulated the Chief Minister for presenting a people-friendly budget.
Appreciating the CM on the announcement of the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme and the Chief Minister’s Micro Finance Initiative, Dr Murry stated that the much needed and innovative schemes will benefit the people of the State. He also appreciated the Chief Minister for giving ample importance to youth and sports, agri and allied sectors and animal husbandry.
MLA CL John termed the budget as a need-based budget and hailed it for its practicality and utility. He further called for proper and honest utilisation of the funds allotted to different Departments so that everyone will benefit equally from the innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government under the budget.
MLA Amenba Yaden, while highlighting the sorry plight of the present and retired employees of the defunct Nagaland Pulp and Paper Mill Limited, Tuli, requested the CM to take the matter into consideration.
To this, Rio while saying that the Cabinet has calculated that salaries and wages amounting to Rs 30 crore is pending for the employees of the defunct mill in Tuli. He said that the Government would take up the matter with Hindustan Paper Limited and if need be to the Court.
Advisor for Prisons, Printing & Stationery, H Haiying described the budget 2022-2023 as practical and visionary. Thanking the Government of the day for creation of new districts, he requested developmental initiatives for the new districts.
MLA Y Vikheho Swu said he congratulates CM Rio not because of the UDA Government but for a zero deficit budget which is progressive and forward looking.
MLA Yitachu reminded on the important projects of Inland Waterways and Central Government’s assurance on providing Airways and Railways connecting the State capital and also improvement of PMGSY roads.
Minister PHED, Jacob Zhimomi lauded the leader of the house, Neiphiu Rio for presenting a surplus budget. He said the budget was well distributed to all Departments despite the limited budget.
Advisor for Economics and Statistics and Fisheries, L Khumo said every Department has been given sufficient budget and if the legislators work accordingly development will reach to the grassroots. He said under CM Rio the State is moving towards development and progress.
He also appreciated the creation of new districts during Rio’s Chief Ministership.
MLA Imkong L Imchen asked that the Ministers and Advisors in-charge of the various Departments of the State Government should own responsibility for proper functioning of their Departments so that the development fund percolates judiciously down to the grassroots.
He also congratulated the Chief Minister for yielding a positive balance of Rs 150.30 crore in the current transaction.
The legislators also stressed on working towards seriously increasing the revenue sector in the Power Department by implementing the pre-paid and smart metering systems in the State. They also stressed improving the hydro power generation facilities.
The legislators also suggested that Nagaland Rural Bank should be allowed to open up banks in the unblocked bank of the State to provide banking services for economic development in rural areas. NRB should be made a sister branch of SBI to carry out the functioning in full strength.
(Page News Service)
Budget 2022-23: Finance Dept. clarifies
DIMAPUR, MARCH 24: The State Finance Department has clarified that the budget for the year 2022-23 projects a positive balance of Rs. 150.30 crores.
This is the first time that the State Government has been able to present a budget with a positive balance after many years of passing deficit budget, it said.
The Finance Department made the clarification citing “a general misconception that the fiscal year 2022-23 has been projected to close with a deficit of Rs. 2,212.74 crores”.
However, the Department admitted that the deficit figure of Rs. 2,212.74 crore is the level of deficit accumulated over the years.
(Page News Service)