Mizoram Congress CM Zoramthanga

Aizawl: The opposition Congress asked Chief Minister Zoramthanga to reveal the actual status of the state’s fiscal condition in the wake of a report about the state being reeled under a financial crunch. 

Speaking to reporters at a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga said that Zoramthanga, who also holds the finance portfolio, should release a white paper on the financial situation of the state.

He accused the finance minister of not being accountable for his responsibility. 

The Congress leader blamed home minister Lalchamliana and sports minister Robert Romawia Royte for allegedly making statements over the state’s fiscal condition recently. He said that statements on any financial matter should be made by the finance minister but not by other ministers. 

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Recently, Lalchamliana, who is also the taxation minister, had said that the state faced financial constraints due to a plunge in the state’s share of taxes and post-devolution revenue deficit grants from the Centre.

He had said that the state did not receive grants amounting to Rs 2,600 crore that it should receive between April 2020 to 2022 from the Centre.

The minister had also said that the 15th Finance Commission earmarked only Rs 6,544 crore as revenue (deficit) gap grant for the period 2021-2025 against Rs. 21,183 crore released by the 14th Finance Commission during 2016-2020 for Mizoram, which was one of the reasons for financial constraints in the state.

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Royte had said that the state government recently released Rs 600 crore under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) from the state government’s account to implementing departments, which manifested the efficiency of the chief minister and finance minister Zoramthanga in fiscal management.

Accusing the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) leaders of concealing the exact financial condition of the state and presenting it as sound and good, Lallianchhunga demanded that government employees’ salaries be released in time and pensions, contract bills and healthcare bills under the state health care scheme be paid immediately if the financial condition is good. 

He alleged that many development projects, including road constructions under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), have been impeded due to a financial crunch. Lallianchhunga further alleged that the state’s treasuries have stopped disbursing money due to an acute financial shortage. State officials and MNF leaders could not be contacted for comments. 

Earlier, a senior official in the state treasuries had said that payment has been stopped from the treasuries owing to the disbursement of funds worth around Rs 600 crore under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) from the state finance department to concerned departments.

The CSS funds were released to the implementing departments following the Centre’s directive, he had said. 

He had said that the Aizawl South Treasury, which disbursed the maximum amount of money on normal days, has stopped payment from July 25 and the Aizawl North Treasury from July 21. 

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