Neiphiu Rio in the Assembly. (File image)

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday presented a Rs 123.96 crore tax-free deficit budget for the year 2020-21.

However, the year with Rs 2,358.81-crore deficit because of the accumulated deficits.

Presenting the budget, Rio said the financial year 2020-21 marks the commencement of the Fifteenth Finance Commission Award period.

He said the tenure of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has been extended by another year upto October 2020.

“So, the submission of the final report of the commission has been delayed,” he added.

He said the commission submitted its report for the year 2020-21 and will be submitting a separate report for five years for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 by October 2020 accordingly with a full budget.

Rio said during the recent visit of the two members of the Fifteenth Finance Commission – Dr Ashok Lahiri and Ajay Narayan Jha -, he conveyed to them the problems the state faces due to the discontinuation of Special Plan Assistance funding.

He said this has left the state with a financial liability of Rs 529 crore and the increase in financial problems due to the high number of government employees and the resultant high salary expenditure.

The government has also requested the commission to give due consideration in covering the revenue deficit and recommending State Specific grants to ensure that there is a minimum level of development in the state, he said.

Rio said the Fourteenth Finance Commission had not recommended State Specific Grants citing the increased devolution to states by 10% from 32% to 42% but this increased devolution did no benefit the state since it continue to remain revenue deficit even after the awards.

On Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, which has created serious apprehensions in the minds of the people, he said the government had always maintained a consistent stand from the very beginning that Nagaland is protected under the provisions of Article 371(A) of the Constitution and the inner line permit regulation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

On consultation with all the stakeholders including the civil societies and tribal hohos it was collectively resolved to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill on January 31, 2019.

Bhadra Gogoi

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