The Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Friday said the “deceptive facts” and “figures” put forth in the media on Thursday by the “spin doctors” running the State Finance department portrayed the well-defined objective of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, to continue embezzling public fund.
It alleged that the department is giving the impression that the prevailing State deficit scenario is the creation of the previous government under former chief minster TR Zeliang.
Drawing its attention to the claims of the finance department, the NPF, in a communiqué, said the truth will always be the truth, no matter how harsh it sounds.
It said in 2003, the one-time grant of Rs 365 crore provided by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee managed to bring the State deficit to zero.
The party said the surplus budget was Rs 18.47 crore for the year 2003-2004 when the first budget was presented by Chief Minister Rio during the time of Democratic Alliance of Nagaland-I government.
Thereafter, the State deficit figure started witnessing an abnormal increase and by the time Rio left for Lok Sabha as an MP in 2014, the accumulated State deficit was Rs 1234 crore, it pointed out.
Prior to his departure for Lok Sabha, when the Vote on Account was presented by Rio on March 21, 2014, for withdrawal of Rs 3523.58 crore from the Consolidated Fund of Nagaland during the 4th Session of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, the closing deficit was estimated at Rs 1234 crore.
This Vote on Account, which in layman’s term means the interim permission for grant in advance, was presented by Rio to settle the expenses of the State government for four months from April 1 to July 31 of the fiscal 2014-2015, wherein the closing deficit figure was projected to stand at Rs 1234 crore, the NPF said.
It added that when the full budget amounting to Rs 12,127.59 crore was presented during the 5th session of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly which commenced on July 22, 2014, the deficit figure was estimated at Rs 1252.45 crore.
The NPF wondered that the State Finance department today disturbingly claimed that when Rio left for Lok Sabha in 2014, the deficit stood at Rs 950.09 crore and by the time the present government returned in 2018, it had grown to Rs 1607.73 crore.
“This is absurd, illogical and unacceptable,” it said.
The party said if the State Finance department still has doubts on the two controversial figures of Rs 1234 crore and Rs 950.09 crore, it should come out with the reconciled and confirmed deficit figure against the year 2014-15 to clear all doubts failing which the matter will be destined for legal recourse.
It said bringing projected statistics, which are only estimated figures prepared by the State Finance department, to public domain and portraying the same as conclusive and confirmed figures by the same department is “hypocrisy of the cheapest standard”.
It said the State Finance department does not reconcile the projected deficit figures but depends on the actual reconciled figure of the Reserve Bank of India.
The figures in question are projected figures and do not illustrate the actual reconciled figures as it ought to be which the State Finance department is well aware of, the party added.