The 13thNagaland Legislative Assembly created a record of sorts on the last day of the first session of the House on Monday as it took almost 11 hours to discuss and pass the budget.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio presented the budget. The debate on the budget commenced at 10.30 am and continued till 9.30 pm.
The House later passed the Rs 18315.76 crore budget for the fiscal 2018-19 by voice vote. This was the first budget of the People’s Democratic Alliance government led by Rio.
Interestingly, the 12thNagaland Assembly led by former chief minister TR Zeliang completed the business of the House in one of its sessions within 15 minutes. This was possible because it was an Opposition-less government.
The Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs floored the treasury bench during the discussion on multiple issues.
Participating in the budget discussion, leader of Opposition TR Zeliang pointed out that budget deficit in Governor’s address stood at Rs 1657.88 crore while chief minister Neiphiu Rio put it at Rs 1630.67 crore.
He said the budget deficit figures in the Governor’s address on March 22 and the Chief Minister’s budget speech on March 23 are misleading and termed the speeches as unfortunate.
The opposition leader held Rio responsible for the deficit budget.
In response to Zeliang’s statement that he had inherited a deficit of Rs 1234 during the year 2014-15 when he took over as chief minister, Rio said the budget deficit during 2014-15 when he left office was Rs 950 crore and that he was not responsible for its increase to Rs1234 crore
Regarding the various road projects by the previous government, Zeliang said “Let us not dispute on who brought sanctions but work towards implementing the sanctioned works.”
“We will see changes on the faces of roads in the state if the present government and the people cooperate on the implementation of the same,” he added.
Opposition MLA and former minister Imkong L Imchen cautioned that the Opposition will closely monitor on the promises made by the government. Imchen also alleged that when RSS carried out “persecution” and “atrocities” against the Christian communities in the country, BJP was part of it. “Because BJP is a political wing of RSS,” he further alleged.
Other Opposition MLAs took on the government on various other issues.
Later, Speaker Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu adjourned the House sine die.