Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday said the State Budget for 2022-23 has shown the Covid pandemic has affected the State’s finances over the past two years.
It was only during the last quarter that the State witnessed a noticeable improvement in the resource position. Interacting with the media after presenting the Budget for 2022-2023, Rio stated that since the first quarter started on a negative trend, the Government was compelled to move for austerity measures as was done during the year 2020-21 to avoid a financial crisis.
The Government also decided to defer appointments to fill vacancies created as the result of retirements and froze vehicle purchases.
He said the last quarter of 2021-22 had seen a huge climb in the GST revenues, resulting in a windfall of Rs. 547.10 crore in receipts under Share of Central Taxes and Duties over what was reflected in the Union Budget (BE) of 2021-22.
Even the State revenues witnessed a growth of Rs. 42.45 crore over the Budget Estimates. Yet, despite such improvements, the State was still struggling to neutralise the huge negative impact of the losses in the Share of Central Taxes and Duties incurred during the last two years (Rs. 925.42 crore short during 2019-20 and Rs. 1341.99 crore short during 2020-21).
Rio said owing to the various measures mentioned in the budget, 2021-22 is estimated to close with a deficit of Rs. 2363.04 crore and clarified that it was an improvement of Rs. 316.42 crore over BE figure of Rs. 2679.46. He termed it an outstanding achievement at a time when the world was undergoing a financial crisis.
He also added that the Government will keep working to reduce the deficit steadily to bring it to more manageable levels in the coming years. He stated that during 2022-23, the Government will introduce two significant initiatives – Chief Minister’s MicrFinance Initiative and the Chief Minister’s Macro-Finance Initiative which have been designed to have a wide impact on the people of the State.
Highlighting the schemes, Rio stated that Chief Minister’s Micro Finance Initiative was to provide affordable credit to farmers, Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organisations in the form of subsidy as well as credit subvention to various identified activities in the agriculture and allied sectors.
The Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme will provide health coverage up to Rs. 5 lakhs per annum to all citizens of the State irrespective of family income.
The scheme will provide cashless service covering various secondary and tertiary care procedures through empanelled hospitals, both within and outside the State covering both Government as well as private hospitals.
Chief Minister Rio also stated that a key reform that will significantly impact the functioning and efficiency of the Government was the creation of the Personnel Information & Management System (PIMS) database of all Government employees.