Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented Rs 1374.17 crore deficit budget for the year 2023-2024 in the Nagaland assembly on March 27.
In the first budget of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Rio allocated Rs 82,000 lakh for the annual development outlay, an increase of Rs 4,500 lakh or 5.49% over the current financial year. Out of this, Rs 25,000 lakh has been earmarked for the state matching share for CSS programmes to ensure the release of funds by the central government.
In his budget speech, Rio said the state government aims to take Nagaland towards a state of excellence. He stressed that the citizens must strive to excel in their chosen fields and careers and in doing so, push ‘Brand Nagaland’ and popularise ‘Naga soft power.
Rio said for fiscal 2023-24, the gross revenue receipts stood at Rs 23,145.66 crore and the gross expenditure at Rs 23,085.66 crore. The closing accumulated deficit has reduced substantially from the estimated closing amount of Rs 2,212.74 crore in budget estimates to Rs 1,334.17 crore in the revised estimates, he said.
He added that since the current year’s transactions are estimated to result in a negative balance of Rs 40 crore, the year 2023-24 is estimated to close with an accumulated deficit of Rs 1,374.17 crore.
Stating that the state government will continue to keep the Naga political issue at the top of its agenda, Rio said the recognition of the unique history, culture and identity and our issue as political, the signing of the Framework Agreement and the Agreed Position, the joint statement made on October 18, 2022, by the Naga political groups at Kolkata and the signing of the ‘Nagas are moving ahead’ at a meeting at Chümoukedima on January 14, 2023, are some of the landmarks which the ongoing dialogue has been successful in achieving.
On the demand of the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation for a separate state, Rio said the state government has already recommended the formation of an autonomous region for our brothers and sisters belonging to the eastern areas. He placed on record that while the developmental deficits and economic challenges of the eastern region of the state needs to be addressed with serious intent, the state government will stand for the unity of the Naga people at all cost.
Briefing media persons after presenting the budget, Rio termed the 2023-24 budget a balanced one. He said the budget gives huge emphasis on agri and allied sectors.
Sharing various issues faced by the sectors making losses, he said the state government has been taking austerity measures to improve the financial position of the government. He said there has been improvement in the financial position of the state government and hoped that it will continue to improve.