Post Mortem

Budget deficit vis –a –vis backdoor appointments in Nagaland

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/16/2020 12:11:25 PM IST

 The DAN Government in the year 2003, the first non-Congress party Government in the state of Nagaland after fifteen years of Congress rule. In view of the generous grant of Rs. 365 Crores, the Hon’ble Prime Minister package of Rs. 1050 Crores and the highest step up in plan allocations from Rs. 424 Crores in 2002-03 to Rs. 760 Crores in 2003-04, an increase of Rs. 336 Crores, the budget in 2003 was presented with a projected surplus of Rs. 18.47 Crores. The non-Congress Governments are in continuous rule in the State till date. The Hon’ble Chief Minister who holds the crucial portfolio of Finance had presented the budget for the year 2020-21 on 13-02-2020 with an accumulated estimated closing deficit of Rs. 2358.81 Crores. The astronomical increase of budget deficits speaks volumes of fiscal indiscipline, mismanagements, corruptions etc by successive governments since 2003. It requires a serious introspection and prompt corrective measures especially by the people in power. In view of the economic slowdown of the country the state share of Taxes is reduced, delay in payment of the state share of the GST and the unreleased Civil Deposits, net payment of the Seventh ROP the projected deficit may increase. The common public is further burdened by the enhancement on the rate of duty on diesel from 10% to 14.5%, from 20.38% in petrol and motor spirit to 25%, raising the road maintenance cess on petroleum products from Rs.1.50 paise per litre to Rs.2 per litre. In view of the present highest inflation in the country, the recent steep hike of the price of LPG cylinder by the Central Government and the aforesaid proposed increase in petrol and diesel prices by the state, the price of essential commodities shall continue to rise and make the lives of the common people more miserable. The state of Nagaland was established through a political agreement in the year 1963. In view of political necessities, backwardness and to facilitate adequate representations in the initial years, people were appointed without interviews in most of the subordinate and ministerial services. In the year 2003, the total number of government servants were about 95,000 to 96,000 and which has been presently increased to about 127889, it is inclusive of 14220 CSS employees as per the latest official record. The public employment in Nagaland had reached a saturation point. The successive governments due to lack of industries and private entrepreneurship in the state could not streamline the appointments in government jobs. The State Government as a model employer over the years, could not maintain fairness and transparency in public employment. All successive governments are guilty of backdoor appointments. The budget for the year 2020-2021 project a receipts of Rs.20826.02 Crores and expenditure of Rs.21049.87 Cores. A break up of the expenditure: Non–development expenditure of Rs.8715.30 Crores, debt servicing including repayment of WMA at Rs.6241.42 Crores and a meagre expenditure on development including CSS  at Rs.6093.15 Crores. The expenditure on development is about 34% of the total budget and which is subject to receipt of the CSS from the Central Government. The remaining 66 % to be spent mainly on debt servicing and salaries, pensions etc. The problem shall be further compounded since the actual net payment of the Seventh ROP of all the state employees shall be with effect from 01-03-2020.  As clearly admitted by the Government in the budget speech dated 13-02-2020, the ratio of Government employees to the population in Nagaland is among the highest in the North East and perhaps even in the country. The time has come for the State Government to take a drastic step before the state lands up in a perpetual debt trap. A report as published in the India Express on 26-06-2019, Nagaland has the highest un - employment rate among the states at 21.4%, and Meghalaya the lowest at 1.5%, figures tabled by the Government in Parliament reports. Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2017-18 which had been reported earlier, even if Union Territories are also included in the comparison, Nagaland still tops the list. The India unemployment rate as on December, 2019 was 7.7%. Unless and until there is a paradigm change in the educational system, change of mental attitude of the youths from a Government job seeker to private entrepreneurship, to be a job creator not a seeker and respect for dignity of labour, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. 

(To be concluded)

Taka Masa Ao, Ex-MLA

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