Aizawl: Mizoram opposition Congress blamed the state annual budget as ‘finance minister centric’ and accused Chief Minister and Finance Minister Zoramthanga of asserting himself as ‘financial dictator’.
Congress media chairman and party spokesperson Lallianchhunga told a news conference on Saturday that the chief minister has allocated more funds in his department (finance) against other departments in the state annual budget presented by him recently.
He said that chief minister Zoramthanga, who also holds the finance portfolio, has allocated over Rs. 1,312.49 crore for major works under the finance department.
Of the total Rs 1,312.49 crore, Rs 962.49 crore is expected from the state and the remaining Rs 350 crore from Centrally Sponsored Schemes, he said.
No funds are allocated for major works to important departments like planning, local administration, school education, agriculture, horticulture, rural development, transport, tourism department, among others, for developmental works and creation of public assets, the Congress leader said.
“The 2022-2023 budget is not people’s budget but a finance minister-centric budget. The chief minister and the finance minister is making himself a financial dictator,” Lallianchhunga said.
Zoramthanga had on Thursday presented the annual budget of the state for the financial year 2022-2023 with a total outlay of Rs. 14,008.15 crore with a special focus on the state flagship programme- Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP).
Rs 700 crore has been allocated for the implementation of the state flagship programme.
Of this, Rs 350 crore has been earmarked exclusively for family development schemes.
The Zoramthanga government is planning to implement the flagship programme in full swing from the new fiscal.
The chief minister also set aside Rs. 1,312.49 crore major works under the finance department.
Lallianchhunga said that the medical bill amounting to Rs. 40 crore is still pending release to beneficiaries under Mizoram State Healthcare Scheme as the government failed to allocate sufficient funds under the scheme during the financial year 2021-2022.
The state government is likely to face the same crisis in the new fiscal as it failed to allocate funds higher than those in the preceding years, he said.
While the government allocated Rs. 3,785.48 crore under state healthcare scheme in 2021-2022, it has earmarked only Rs.3,615.66 crore for fiscal 2022-2023 with a depreciation of Rs. 169.82 crore, he said.
He said that many retired employees have faced severe problems during 2021-2022 following the government’s failure to release pensions as it allocated lesser funds.
According to Lallianchhunga, the state’s liabilities has increased to 58 per cent since the MNF came into power in December 2018.
He alleged that the MNF government has borrowed money from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through ways and means on at least 101 occasions during its three years rule owing to financial mismanagement.
An attempt to contact Chief Minister Zoramthanga went futile, while a top finance department official refused to comment on the matter.