Tuesday, May 30, 2023

CM Rio terms Budget 2023-24 as ‘balanced’


Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio said the Budget for the financial year 2023-24 was ‘balanced’ targeting the Agri & Allied, the micro farmers, entrepreneurs and people who were trying to be positive and make and honest living.
Addressing media persons after the presenting the Budget, Rio said because of various constraints, the government had to take care of the financial managements.
Rio also pointed out that for the first time the budget made specific highlights on the State Matching Share for all Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) under various departments unlike previous years where that was not mentioned.
Rio said the need to mention matching share on CSS was necessitated after financial year 2022-23 started on uncertainties owing to the struggle with the after effects of the pandemic and the damage it had caused to the state finances.
He disclosed that at a time when the state was recovering from the pandemic which had affected the whole world, the State was hit again as the financial tension reached its peak in July 2022.
This was when the Finance Ministry gave standing directives to all states to release all CSS in their accounts by July 20, 2022, on condition that the Centre would withdraw all the unutilised funds which were pending release even during the deadline. At that point of time, the State Government held a total of Rs. 728 crore in CSS funds, an amount so high that forced the state to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Sinking Fund to manage these releases, he said.
He informed that a positive outcome of this incident was that the State Government was able to discharge almost all the backlog of CSS, which also helped to reduce the accumulated deficit.
The Central Government has made it mandatory for States to release all pending CSS before the next instalments were released. This new procedure now binds the states to release CSS funds along with State Matching Share within 30 days failing which a penalty in the form of fine to the tune of 7% interest per annum would be charged. Further, delay in release of CSS funds would result in blockade of subsequent installments.
He informed that the state government paid some penalties in the current financial year as some departments had underperformed and could not meet the prescribed procedure.
Presenting the budget speech earlier, Rio informed that the state had also implemented the integration of all CSS with the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) portal where departments implementing CSS programmes were required to manage all receipts and expenditure as well as submission of Utilization Certificates through the portal.
As such, it has become necessary for the implementing departments to ensure that they maximize the impact of the activities undertaken. “For this reason, I intend to have in-depth reviews of the implementation of the CSS programs in the State on a quarterly basis. The review shall examine the physical and financial progress of the projects, and the impact they have made on the target areas or beneficiaries.
All the concerned departments may accordingly prepare themselves from the start of the next financial year,” Rio said.
He observed that there was a growing trend of departments neglecting their core activities over the years as a result of which the delivery of Government services for the public benefit in various sectors are being neglected.
Except some major CSS programs, most departments were paying less attention to their core activities and focusing more on construction of offices and residential buildings.
“This trend needs to be corrected. We have to ensure that the activities of departments positively impact the lives of the public,” CM added.


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