Kohima: The Nagaland government has so far spent a total of Rs 139 crore for “medical and non medical interventions” to fight against COVID-19. Out of the total amount spent, the state government used about Rs 112 crore from its own resources.
This was revealed by Nagaland chief minister Nephiu Rio during the sixth session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on Thursday. “We are a revenue deficit state. We do not have enough resources. But this has not stopped us from doing whatever we could do for, taking all possible steps to combat COVID-19 and to keep our people safe,” the chief minister said.
Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that for improving the medical infrastructure and putting in place systems, equipment and manpower for winning the battle against the pandemic, the state has spent more than Rs 62 crore. Out of this amount spent, the assistance that the state government got from the government of India and other sources is only about Rs 10 crore. The remaining Rs 52 crore were spent from the state’s own resources.
For the other non-medical interventions like relief to stranded people, distribution of food and dry rations to migrants, needy people, preparation of quarantine centers and the entire quarantine arrangements, transport arrangements for bringing the people back, IEC activities and so on, the total expenditure incurred is around Rs 74 crore. Here also, the assistance from government of India is only about Rs 14 crore, he said.
The total expenditure for both the medical and non medical interventions comes to about Rs 139 crore, including Rs 3.35 crore spent from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF).
Out of this total amount spent, the state government spent about Rs 112 crore from its own resources, including Rs 3.35 crore from the CMRF, the chief minister said.
“Getting resources has been tough given our overall constraints and reduction in the revenues due to pandemic and lockdown. We had to take several measures to mobilise additional revenue,” Rio added.
Rio also related the cutting down of non essential expenditure by 15% and the mobilization of additional revenue by levying covid cess at Rs 5 and Rs 6 per litre on diesel and petrol. Rio added: “But we have done all this in the best interest of our people.”
“I would like to stress that the government has taken all possible measures to deal with this unprecedented health crisis in living memory. In fact, our response has been much better than many other more resourceful states and many of the initiatives have been a model for other states to follow,” the chief minister said.
He reassured to the people that the government is doing all it can to prevent and control the COVID 19. “So far, we have succeeded to a great extent barring a few unfortunate incidents,” Rio said, adding that with the support of the people as “Team Nagaland”, it will overcome the crisis in the weeks and months to come.
The chief minister appealed the people not to panic and not to stigmatise those who may unfortunately get infected, nor the frontline workers who are working day and night to keep the people safe from the disease. He further appealed to the people to take all necessary health precautions at individual, family and community levels and follow the government advisories issued from time to time.
Meanwhile, the Nagaland opposition boycotted the one-day Assembly session. Twenty-three members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, including Speaker Sharingain Longkumer, proceeded with the sixth session of the 13th NLA on Thursday. The session was adjourned sine die.