AIZAWL: Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) – the main opposition party in Mizoram – has asked the state government to summon a special session to review the financial condition of the state following an unofficially disclosed financial crunch.
A meeting of ZPM party political affairs committee, the party high command, on Wednesday deliberated and reviewed the financial condition of Mizoram and observed that chief minister Zoramthanga-led Mizo National Front (MNF) government has failed in fiscal management, the party said in a statement.
“We appeal to the government to summon a special assembly session to review and ascertain the exact status of our financial condition,” the ZPM statement said.
Although not officially declared, Mizoram has been reeling under a stiff financial crunch amid rising COVID-19 cases, outbreak of African swine fever and refugee crisis.
Mizoram’s treasuries have stopped doling out normal payment from the third week of July as instructed by the state finance department.
While Aizawl South Treasury, which disburses the maximum amount of money on normal days, has stopped payment from July 25, the Aizawl North Treasury stopped disbursing money from July 21.
Aizawl South Treasury officer K. Lalnghingloa said that they could only release payments of those instructed by the finance department, especially those with small amounts.
He could not say when the treasuries will disburse money normally.
Highly placed sources said that the treasuries stopped payment due to financial shortage triggered by disbursement of funds under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) amounting to about Rs. 600 crore to implementing departments recently following the Centre directive.
Payment of salaries to government employees and pensions might be delayed, the sources said.
Many contract bills and health insurance under the state healthcare scheme amounting to crores of rupees are also pending for release, it said.
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The Mizoram government has already availed special drawing facilities (special ways and means advances) besides ways and means advances and is facing overdraft, the sources added.
Earlier, a top official in the state finance department had said that the state could face financial constraint due to the Centre’s diktat to release all the CSS funds from the state account.
He had said that the CSS funds in the past were usually parked in the state account with RBI and a part of them had been frequently loaned for covering shortage in revenue expenditure.
Mizoram taxation minister Lalchamliana had attributed a plunge in the state’s share of taxes and post devolution revenue deficit grants from the Centre to the prevailing financial crunch in the state.
However, Mizoram CM Zoramthanga, who also holds the finance portfolio, and officials of the state finance department, are tight lipped on the issue.
Last week, Mizoram Congress had asked the chief minister to release a white paper on the exact financial condition of the state.