Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister and minister in charge of finance Neiphiu Rio on Thursday presented a tax-free budget for 2021-22. Rio, in an interaction with the media, termed the Budget as people-friendly.
Here are some of the key highlights from the Budget:
(i) A functional medical college likely by next year:
After 57 years of attaining statehood, the state’s first sanctioned medical college in Kohima is likely to start. “We plan to apply for starting the Kohima Medical College from the academic year 2022-23 to the National Medical Commission. It will start initially with the NHAK [Naga Hospital Authority Kohima] as a Teaching Hospital,” the chief minister informed.
The second medical college in Mon would be completed by 2023-24, Rio informed. The project for establishing the Medical College at Mon is taken up for Rs 325 crore. For both projects, 90% is sourced from centrally-sponsored schemes.
(ii) Outsourcing and privatisation of power, transport and water supply:
The state’s revenue generation is relatively poor. In 2020-21, the state’s revenue generation stood at 9.44%. To enhance revenues, the budget set in motion the process of outsourcing and privatization in the Power, Transport and Water Supply sectors. This will focus on increasing participatory partnerships with the private sector, increase economic benefits, and reduce the recurring expenditure of the Government.
(iii) Ambitious target for coffee plantation:
With Nagaland Coffee emerging as a popular brand, with exports to countries like South Africa, emphasis on promoting Nagaland coffee is to be made by improving production, marketing and value addition.
A target to cover 50,000 hectares for coffee plantation by 2030 is set. At present, there are 8,997 hectares of coffee plantation. The 15th finance commission has so far given Rs 150 crore for coffee plantation.
(iv) Rs 665 lakh allocation for Agri-Allied sector:
An amount of Rs 665 Lakh for the Department of Agriculture of which Rs 300 lakh is earmarked for construction of 65 numbers of community agriculture farm roads.
The State is looking forward to a healthy increase in food grain production as 2020-21 saw an increase of 11.33% with 8,33,770 MT as against 7,48,870 MT of food grain production in 2019-20.
(v) Developing 100 vegetable villages:
To revive the State’s economy post the COVID-19 pandemic, the Horticulture department will develop 100 vegetable villages for 10,000 households. This will aim to strengthen post-harvest and value addition infrastructure for fruits and vegetables and promoting mushroom cultivation.
(vi) Iconic projects for all Assembly constituencies:
Under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP), ‘Iconic Projects’ is introduced for all Assembly constituencies. This will be taken up by each Member of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) as per the actual needs of the area.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Rs 50 lakh per Assembly Constituency is earmarked from LADP 2020-21 for strengthening health infrastructure.
(vii) Rs 750 Lakh earmarked for Tourism:
After closing down tourism activities for a year due to COVID-19, efforts are made to revive the sector, an amount of Rs 750 lakh is provided to the Tourism department. Of this total, Rs 450 lakh is earmarked for Hornbill Festival and Rs 250 lakh for Mini Hornbill Festivals.
(viii) 50 bedded hospital in Kohima:
The Department of Health and family welfare has been provided with Rs 604.90 lakh, of which Rs 254.90 is earmarked for construction of a new ward at the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) and Rs 150 lakh is for construction of 50 bedded District Hospital Kohima.
(ix) New police platoon posts in border areas:
The State Police is setting up new Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) Platoon posts along the borders at Mokokchung and Wokha to control illegal activities and infiltration of illegal immigrants.
(x) A District hospital for Nagaland’s youngest district:
For Nagaland’s youngest district—Noklak, the 30 bedded Community Health Centre (CHC) at Noklak will be upgraded to a District Hospital. An addition of 20 beds will be made under the National Health Mission (NHM).
(xi) Introduction of Chief Minister’s Grants:
Two new grants under the chief minister’s office have been introduced—Chief Minister’s Grant for Journalism, the Chief Minister’s Research Grant—to empower a vibrant fourth estate, and support advancement of science through research respectively.