Nagaland Chief Minister presents 2021-22 budget proposal

The Chief Minister of Nagaland who is also the Minister in Charge of Finance, Neiphiu Rio presented a budget proposal estimating the gross receipt at Rs. 22,451.28 crore and gross expenditure at Rs. 22,816.61 crore for the financial year 2021-22 during his budget speech at the ongoing Seventh session of the Thirteen NLA on Friday, according to a DIPR report.

The Chief Minister stated that the COVID-19 induced lockdown had severely affected the State’s finances and with the freezing of all economic activities during the lockdown period, transactions were largely restricted to essential commodities that were mostly non-taxable. As a result, both State tax revenues as well GST receipts (State and Central GST) were severely affected including Central Government’s revenues which in turn led to fall in the State’s Share of Central Taxes, the DIPR report said.

Rio further added that going by present trends, the State’s revenues are expected to fall by Rs. 86.19 crore from the BE figure of Rs. 1,283.36 crore to 1,197.17 crore, which is a reduction of 10%. The State’s share of Central Taxes and Duties are expected to reduce by Rs. 1,341.99 crore based on the Revised Estimates figures of the Union Budget, however, with the resumption of normal activities, the State’s GST revenue has picked up, he added.

The Chief Minister informed that fearing a financial crisis, the Government decided to adopt austerity measures to curtail expenditure. The measures included freezing of three instalments of Dearness Allowances/Relief in line with the decision of the Central Government. Cut expenditure on items such as Motor Vehicles, Office Expenses, Travel Expenses and Maintenance under Non-Development were also made. The Government also decided to cut down the Developmental Outlay (State Programs) by 15%. All fresh appointments have been kept on hold except in unavoidable cases, he stated.

He clarified that owing to the various measures to reduce expenditure, the year 2020-21 is estimated to close with a deficit of Rs. 2,314.13 crore. This is an improvement of Rs. 44.68 crore over BE figures. The austerity measures have paid off well and the Government is likely to continue the measures to reduce avoidable expenditure, he added.

Among others, 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 20, 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 14 than 80 kilometres of international border, and the roots of the formation the now legendary Village Guards took place under its jurisdiction and hence he has   given it the name of “Frontier District”. He 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.

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.

Coming to the 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 of 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.

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 are to become functional from July 2021 in all the three institutes.

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.

On sectoral allocation, 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 DIPR report said. 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 a provision of Rs. 307.31 crore is kept in provision for Externally Aided Projects, the report added.

NNN

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