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DAN Budget lacking fiscal prudence: NPCC
Published on 14 Jul. 2009 1:31 AM IST
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Having studied the nature of the state budget for 2009-10 presented by the chief minister, Neiphiu Rio on July 7, the NPCC has concluded that the budget lacked fiscal prudence which also brilliantly displayed the disjointed and incoherent non-policies of the DAN government. Media cell of the NPCC said in a statement on Monday that the “people friendly” budget presented by Rio had two ostensibly inherent contradictions to offer. They first pointed out that the “no new taxes” had no relevance to the budget offered and was “actually ridiculous in the light of reality that confronts Naga society today.” The NPCC asked, “Do Nagas have to pay taxes?” The NPCC also wondered if ‘stringent measures to enhance more tax revenue collection’ comfort the budgetary deficit accrued by the state. The second point raised by the state Congress party was the issue of high fiscal deficit presented in the budget and said it was a major cause of concern. The NPCC asserted that budget deficits were popular for the sole reason that it raised the level of expenditure and lowered the level of taxation leaving the fiscal cost to the future generation. Stating that budgets were the most comprehensive indicators of any government’s policies and initiatives, the NPCC said that a close reading of the budget showed that the initiatives of the government in a spending the tax payer’s money and the rationale provided for the various road-show variants of policies exposed the disorientation in the policies of the DAN government. The NPCC showed prime concern to the fact that a major portion of the state budget was spent on “servicing of debts.” It said that the loans pursued or acquired by the government for various projects deserved a discussion and debate as such issues were a matter of government policy. The NPCC noted that the DAN government seemed to go for projects neither because it was urgently required nor because it was in continuation of the visions and policies (if it exists) of the DAN government, but because there was money available for such projects in the various agencies of the government of India. It was pointed out that Nagaland recorded the highest percentage in the servicing of debts in the northeast (Sikkim being the lowest). The NPCC also pointed out that nearly 30 % of the resources available were spent on repaying the fiscal debt, thus strengthening the fear that Nagaland was leading towards a “debt trap.” While there can be celebrations for fiscal efficiency, the various parties thrown by the DAN government for the budget presented “is foolhardy and ridiculous,” it stated. “What kind of celebration will it be, if we make our failures to contain fiscal deficit and ignore debt traps glaring at us, a moment to cherish,” the NPCC wondered. It further said that the debt trap due to the servicing of debts for road shows touted as developmental policies of the DAN government was akin to holding the younger generation to ransom by mortgaging their future. The NPCC asserted that all these projects have no relevance to addressing the rising unemployment issue, the NPSC scam, industries department’s various scams, forest scam, road scams, NREGS tangles, recruitment scams etc. The NPCC ridiculed the DAN government saying that their real achievement was the multiple scams which they had managed to engineer and also equally “superhuman effort” of the chief minister in stalling probes, protecting the guilty, thus providing a safe haven for all sorts of scams to exist and persist in a small state like Nagaland. Against this backdrop, the NPCC said it was irrational to accord such deafening attention to “road shows and picnics” that the DAN government was so fond of organizing. With debts rising every fiscal year, the NPCC expressed concern as to who would service the debts and under what conditions. The NPCC said that the present budget was a clear acceptance in paper by the DAN government of its flawed non-policies and its inability to think beyond masterminding financial and other scams. It said that the increase in the annual plan outlay was natural, given the global economic meltdown and the inflation thereof, which had necessitated the pumping of money for cushioning the impact on the public. The NPCC was also unsparing of the call for judicious utilization of funds describing it as “perplexing,” given the scams involving some senior colleagues of the chief minister. Allocations which were usually made on the basis of holistic state policies on development and addressing attendant problems, the NPCC said that such allocations, as per the CM’s statement who is also the finance minister, has perhaps been made on the basis of who spends more and not on which sector required more. The NPCC pointed out that the government chose to spent Rupees 1 crore for providing lodging facilities for patients at Guwahati, when the rural health sector in the state was in shambles. It also termed the state government’s allocation on education and health sector were discouraging. Although the allocation in terms of amount has increased, the NPCC observed that there was a sharp decline in terms of overall percentage as compared to previous years. With such commitments towards the social sector, the NPCC asserted that the road shows seemed more like a magic show to alleviate the minds of the masses by inducing and engaging them in surreal things thus diverting them from the depressing state of affairs in existence.

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