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Congress flays DAN budget
Correspondent Kohima, Jul 24 (NPN):
Published on 25 Jul. 2010 12:42 AM IST
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Former chief minister and Congress member K.L.Chishi hit out at the the budget for 2010-11 presented by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio by describing it as “fair and lovely cosmetic” and the speech like the tour diary of the chief minister.
Taking part in the general discussion of the budget in the state assembly on Saturday, the former chief minister preferred to rate the speech as “good” but the chief minister to be a doer and not preacher adding “I want you to be doer, I don’t trust the preacher”
Chishi spoke of the urgent need to attend and concentrate on improvement of revenue collection. He pointed out that during the past 46 years of statehood, governments had neglected this sector and so it was time to seriously ponder of the matter.
Further the senior Congress leader suggested that it was the right time for the government consider creation of a separate Department of Revenue and Taxes for the purpose. He also strongly rooted for drastic pruning of expenditure through adoption of practical austerity measures.
To buttress his point, Chishi took the example of purchase of vehicles which he was highly critical of particularly regarding misuse of government vehicles and properties. He said these expenditures were “too huge”. He cited the case of the police department which he said was being taxed too heavily owing to expenditure for providing VIP escorts and purchase of petrol and oil (POL). He also criticized the lavish styles of VIPs. He said the expenditure of the police department in terms of a “huge-crore” rupees but wondered how the money was being utilized. He said the money was supposed to be public money and therefore, austerity measures need to be adopted.
On the Prohibition Act of 1989, Chishi said that there has been hue and cry over it while being critical of the stand taken by the church on the issue of lifting or relaxing the Act.
He said the then government during 1989 was virtually forced into adopting the Act but now there was need to consider both sides of the coin. “We have to talk good and bad sides” of the liquor prohibition but that the Church was only talking about the bad side of liquor. He also wondered what the churches, missionaries, reverends were going to do in order to enforce prohibition. “It’s absurd .They want to preach and don’t want to do”, he said.
He said though there was loss in revenue, yet the church leaders chose to contest it. Rather, he said the church leaders suggest having more manpower for Excise and Police Forces to enforce prohibition but which would mean making the government go bankrupt.
“We want revenue. They say no and issue order” to continue with the Act. Chishi admitted that he had to bear the brunt of such utterances. Further he said that the missionaries, reverends, pastors as Christians cannot be substitutes for Jesus Christ. He said their duty was to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ and maintained that faith was a matter of individual choice.
On the SIT report on the issue of bogus teachers scam in the school education department, Chishi said thousands of names were detected as bogus teachers or ghost teachers. The state government instead of terminating their service issued “show cause notice” only and said it was “shocking”. He wondered, who will reply when they are found to be bogus or ghost teachers?. He also said that state government could enter the Guinness Book of World Record for issuing “show cause notice” to bogus teachers or ghost teachers.
Chishi also slammed the government’s Road Shows admitting he was allergic to it. He demanded to know how much money the government was spending for road shows in each district throughout the state?
Rounding up his speech, Chishi said the budget documents were “a bundle of confusion” and cautioned the Finance department to be more careful while preparing the budget documents.
NPCC President and Congress MLA I. Imkong said the budget was devoid of any innovative scheme to uplift the economy of the people as it was a repetition of the same over and over again every year. He said that Local Area Development Fund (LADF) was allocated to all sixty elected members with equal amount, but regretted that there is deduction of percentage. He said that earlier the deduction was 25 %, but after complaints from the Congress, it was reduced to 15 % and requested there should be no discrimination. “All of us faced same problems during election, but now time has come to forget and work together whether political issue or economic development” he said.
Imkong also stressed on urgent need for creating awareness on climate change. He also suggested that more funds should be allotted for Agriculture & allied sectors, in order to realize the vision of food for all.
He also said that government should fill up the vacancies in various departments but should be based purely on merit and fair competition.
He further suggested more funds for areas were people are major consumers but production low. On the matter of internal mobilization, I. Imkong suggested for proper collection of taxes particularly in the power and transport sector. The MLA also urged the government to provide better infrastructure in the field of games and sports, so that the Naga boys and girls develop talents.
Earlier initiating the discussion, Congress MLA Joshua emphasized on the need for good quality roads and as all progress and development in the state depend a lot on good road connectivity.
On the issue of prohibition, Joshua suggested that Prohibition Act should be implemented in spirit if we are to continue with Prohibition. Appreciating the government for giving more focus to the youth, he described the youths as the most important sector and felt that their interest needs to be protected.
Joshua also said the government projected Rs.603.64 crore as negative balance for the year 2010-2011 but it could cross more than Rs.700 crore by the close of the current financial year.
Congress MLA Sentichuba said that the budget was not a balanced budget but anti people. Congress MLA H. Chuba Chang said that the four districts – Tuensnag , Mon , Kiphire and Longleng were allocated with Rs 119.53 crore and even in the works programme out of the 63 departments, in 16 departments there was “Zero allocation” for the four districts. The NLA speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie informed the house that the discussion on budget speech will continue on July 26.

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