Sunday, June 4, 2023

Nagaland under huge debt crisis: Therie


Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has said the present socio-economic and law and order scenario in Nagaland has reached a critical stage and that the only way out of the mess is for the government of India to promulgate President’s Rule in the state.
“It is a fit case to impose President’s Rule and correct the mismanagement,” Therie stated.
Citing the present financial crisis in Nagaland as fit case for President’s Rule, NPCC president K. Therie has claimed that Nagaland is saddled with a huge debt-crisis of around Rs.16,000 crore; whereas the state’s own revenue remained at around Rs.650 crore. He said this has led to a precarious shortfall of funds for payment of salaries with many departments not in a position to clear salaries for months.
Therie alleged that the state’s financial mess began since present chief minister Neiphiu Rio has been holding the finance portfolio and despite generous financial assistance from the Centre, the state’s financial woes continue. He recalled that during the UPA government, then prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh provided special assistance of Rs.726 crore under Non-Plan and Rs.336 crore under Plan to make good the deficit for implementation of the 6th RoP. However, Therie claimed that the money was not used for payment to employees but their dues were placed under GPF and then funds were subsequently siphoned off and used for elections.
Even as the union finance minister was to attend the programme in Kohima on corporate social responsibility, Therie said financial institution and banks do not apply the same law that is applicable in all of India, to Nagaland.
He said even the MSME where Rs.20 lakh crore earmarked for investment as notified by the government of India and published in all newspapers, banks and financial institutions have stated that these laws are not applicable in Nagaland. This meant that rules of the SBI and other financial institutions are different and they do not respect the notifications issued by government of India.
He also said there was no such thing as Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS and neither such thing as Unsecured Loan (without security) and so there is no such loan for revival of sick industries. Therie therefore claimed that these show that all those announcements made by the prime minister of the finance minister are not applicable to Nagaland.
He cited a report by an NGO- YouthNet which claimed that Rs.600 crore was the total expenditure for the 2008 election. Again, he said it was estimated that in 2013 over Rs.900 crore was spent while in 2018 the total amount spent by candidates was Rs.1,060 crore.
On law and order, Therie said even the state Governor had declared that the law and order situation has completely failed due to uncontrolled multi-parallel insurgent governments who are extorting money rampantly, while waiting for implementation of political solution when the prime minister announced to the nation, that the Naga issue has been resolved in 2015. Therie accused “the finance minister” of only seeking to earn commission out of every project of various departments and has little idea of improving the state’s finance make it self-reliant as other states.
He also alleged that backdoor appointments have doubled and resulted in number of government employees rising from 76,000 to 1,45,000. The backdoor appoints have also led to deprivation of reservation policies in the state. He said such a huge work force is consuming the bulk of state’s budgetary resources and shooting above the prescribed norms set by the Finance Commission. Therie said after utilised huge chunk of the budget for salaries, the remaining funds meant for development is being shared between ruling politicians and insurgent groups.
He said contractors complain of receiving hardly 30% of payments as 70% is deducted at sources and shared between ministers, parliamentary secretaries, advisers, officers and several insurgent groups.
In addition, he said government department are forced to pay 24% of one month’s salary annually to insurgents. Even government departments such as Rural Development forces the VBDs and VCCs to sign on blank cheques. Even from NGNREGA’s 2020-21 funds of Rs.483 crore received, he alleged that Rs.60 crore was paid for wages at an average of 7 days instead of 100 man day wages.
Therie said even upto to 70% of the cost of material component under MGNREGA was being deducted from the beneficiaries.
He also alleged that there were numerous instances where money was drawn without any work being done. He cited CAG reports which exposed many unverifiable projects under Planning and Tribal Affairs department.
Under Tribal Affairs department, in the name of Women Working Hostel, he said money for construction were drawn without works and projects were unverifiable. He also said water projects were not provided in Kohima and the commercial capital Dimapur.
On PMRY loan Therie said it is politicised and so the selected beneficiaries think that it is a political gift. He said beneficiaries are not chosen on the basis of skill, commitment and feasibility of their projects which are but copy pasted. This is the reason why politically selected beneficiaries do not return loans and a reason why banks blame public.
Therie reminded that NITI Aayog has also graded Nagaland as the Worst Performing state. He further said Rs. 200 crores of funds for Mon Medical college was released while works for the proposed Kohima Medical College was forgotten. Even the High court building construction is now being probed by CBI. The much hyped, Multi-Disciplinary Sports Complex at Dimapur has been under construction since 2005 and is today in an unfinished state looking like the Colosseum of Rome.
He alleged that many departments have incomplete projects because funds were drawn without work.
Due to such a situation of no progress, Therie said even Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had rightly compared development of Diphu district as being equal to or more than entire Nagaland as Diphu has a Medical College and Engineering College and Nagaland has none so far.


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