File photo of Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, on Thursday presented Rs 2679.46 crore deficit budget for the financial year 2021-22 in the State Assembly.

Presenting the budget, Rio said gross receipt of revenue is expected at Rs 22,451.28 crore and gross expenditure at Rs 22,816.61 crore for the financial year 2021-22.

“The current transaction is estimated to result in a negative balance of Rs 365.33 crore. However, because of the negative opening balance of Rs 2314.13 crore, the year 20211-22 is estimated to close with a negative opening balance of Rs 2679.46 crore,” he said.

He said owing to various measures to reduce expenditure, the year 2020-21 is estimated to close with a deficit of Rs 2,314.13 crore.

This is an improvement of Rs 44.68 crore over budget estimate figures, he stated.

Rio said fearing a financial crisis, the government decided to adopt austerity measures to curtail expenditure.

The measures included the freezing of three installments of dearness allowances/relief in line with the decision of the central government, cut expenditure on items such as motor vehicles, office expenses, travel expenses and maintenance under non-development.

The government also decided to cut down the Developmental Outlay (State Programmes) by 15 percent while all fresh appointments have been kept on hold except in unavoidable cases, he stated.

He said the austerity measures have paid off well and the Government is likely to continue the measures to reduce avoidable expenditure, he added.

Rio said going by the present trends, the State’s revenues are expected to fall by Rs 86.19 crore from the budget estimate figure of Rs 1,283.36 crore to Rs 1,197.17 crore, which is a reduction of 10 percent.

The State’s share of central taxes and duties are expected to reduce by Rs 1,341.99 crore based on the revised estimates figures of the Union Budget.

However, with the resumption of normal activities, the State’s GST revenue has picked up, he added.

Rio said the lockdown had severely affected the State’s finances and with the freezing of all economic activities during the lockdown period, transactions were largely restricted to essential commodities that were mostly non-taxable.

As a result, both State tax revenues as well GST receipts (State and Central GST) were severely affected, including the Central Government’s revenues, which in turn led to falling in the State’s share of central taxes, he said.

On sectorial allocation, Rio said the budget for the year 2021-22 is affected by the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

However, seeing the steady pace of recovery of the country’s economy, he said the State Developmental Outlay for 2021-22 has been fixed at Rs700 crore which is an increase of 9.55 percent over the Plan size of 2020-21.

He also said to ensure a smooth flow of Central funds, Rs 250 crore has been allocated towards State Matching Share for Central schemes, including that of DoNER and NEC.

Rio said the government has also made efforts to tap funding for roads and other key infrastructure projects under the scheme of Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure with Rs 200 crore interest-free loan assistance.

Addressing the media later, Rio said the Budget for 2021-22 is people-friendly.

He said the budget was prepared with a special focus on agri and allied sectors and to make the State a self-sustaining economy.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com