Budget 2021-22: Nagaland banking on agri-allied sector for self-sustaining economy
Kohima, Feb. 18 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday furnished a comprehensive budget speech, prioritising the agri-allied sector besides announcing fresh grants and initiatives particularly aimed at the youth of the state.
Addressing a press conference after presenting the state budget for the financial 2021-22, Rio said that the intention was to priorities the agri-allied sector and make Nagaland a self-sufficient state. The sector is going to be the most important aspect of the state’s strategy towards achieving a self-sustaining economy, he added.
Outlay of INR 665 lakh for agriculture sector
Rio stated that an outlay of INR 665 lakh has been allocated for Agriculture department, wherein INR 300 lakh has been earmarked for construction of 65 numbers of community agriculture farm roads.
The state is looking forward to a healthy increase in food grain production. Against 7,48,870 MT in 2019-20, expected production during 2020- 21 is 8,33,770 MT; this marks an increase of 11.33% over the previous year, it was informed.
Focus is being given to help farmers to get better market access for their produce. Marketing of state’s produce has also been initiated outside the state under the brand ‘Naturally Nagaland’. The marketing is being done with proper packaging, labelling along with all necessary registrations, licenses and certifications as per the requirements of law, he said, adding that there is a high demand for the local products outside the state.
Another new initiative is introduction of the innovative Naga Integrated Settled Farming (NIsF).
INR 300 lakh for Horticulture dept.
The department of Horticulture has been allocated with an amount of INR 300 lakh, including INR 200 lakh for horti-link roads and INR 100 lakh for other earmarked activities.
The state is focussing on enhancing production of a specific type of fruit in different districts. Efforts will be made to help farmers aggregate their produce in larger quantities for export as well as maintain quality and consistency.
Besides the need to help farmers enhance their incomes by shifting to commercial crops, infrastructure for sorting, grading, processing and packaging and warehousing is necessary.
Soil and Water Conservation dept.
An amount of INR 340 lakh has been allocated to the department, wherein INR 250 lakh has been earmarked for Integrated Land Development and INR 40 lakhs for Soil Health Management.
State targets 50,000 ha of coffee plantation
Out of the total outlay of INR 473.73 lakh for the department of Land Resources Development, INR166.73 lakh will go towards purchasing of 950 rubber sheet roller machines and INR 207 lakh for maintenance of coffee plantations.
At present, the state has 8997 hectares (ha) of coffee plantation and the state have set a target to cover 50,000 ha by 2030. The state is also making efforts to promote natural tea in Nagaland.
INR 300 lakh for model piggery farms
An outlay of INR 350 lakh has been allocated to the department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary. Out of the amount, INR 300 lakh has been earmarked for setting up three model piggery farms.
Meanwhile, the department of Fisheries has been provided INR 350 lakhs, out of which INR 250 lakh will go towards upgrading eight government demonstration fish farms.
INR 21 crore for Duda
An amount of INR 21 crore has been allocated to the Department of Under Developed Areas (Duda) in the budget presented on Thursday.
Smooth flow of central funds
Considering heavy dependence on centrally-sponsored schemes for most of the developmental activities in the state, INR 250 crore has been allocated towards State Matching Share for Central Schemes, including that of DoNER and NEC, to ensure a smooth flow of central funds, which will enable to access greater funding under CSS programmes to boost the pace of development.
The government has also made efforts to tap funding for roads and other key infrastructure projects under the scheme of Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure with INR 200 crore interest-free loan assistance.
Under 15th Finance Commission Awards, several projects for improvement of health infrastructure, road maintenance, construction of High Court Complex, new Raj Bhavan, mini landing strips and improvement of facilities for fire services in the districts will be taken up from 2021-22 onwards, Rio informed.
A provision of INR 307.31 crore has been kept for externally-aided projects.
The state budget also touched upon almost all the sectors like youth and sports, entrepreneurship, Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA), Social and Human Resources, Persons with Disabilities, Tourism, Healthcare, and Education.
It announced new projects under Noklak “frontier district” like construction of DC office, SP office complex and town hall, storehouse for food grains, and upgrading of health centre to district hospital.
New initiatives, grants, centres
The chief minister announced several new initiatives, including CM’s grants, recreational parks, research centres, etc., which particularly aimed at youths.
Public parks for recreation, exercise and fitness will be established in all the district headquarters, Rio informed, adding that the state government will extend assistance for initial establishment but will engage local communities and stakeholders for maintenance and upkeep.
The Nagaland Police Sports Battalion is one new initiative meant to create opportunities for the younger generation. The present Nagaland Police Sports Complex will be converted into the sports battalion, for which the state will seek Centre’s assistance.
Chief Minister’s Young Leadership Programme, which could not be implemented due to the lockdown, will be done on the lines of International Visitor Leadership Programme and in collaboration with the alumni of the United States Exchange Alumni. It will give life changing experiences to the participants and groom young Nagas to the global environment.
In a first, the Chief Minister’s Grant for Research Scholars was announced in order to support advancement of science and extend funding to research scholars.
The Parliamentary Studies & Research Centre for Conflict Resolution will be established in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and will research studies, workshops, seminars and host of other activities will be conducted.
Chief Minister’s Scholarship for Music & Arts will ensure professional training with renowned institutions and conservatories who are knowledge partners of TaFMA to strengthen music foundations especially amongst the educators.
Conservatory of Folk & Traditional Music cell will be attached to the Regional Centre of Excellence for Music & Arts (RCEMPA) and will archive traditional tunes and folk songs to preserve rich culture and heritage.
Nagaland to host Indian National Rally Championship
The Kohima Cross Country will be held in collaboration with the Athletic Federation of India and will be promoted as a race that traverses the historic sites of the Battle of Kohima, an event that changed the course of history.
Nagaland will host the final leg and the grand finale of the Indian National Rally Championships in November 2021.
The state will also hot Asia Music Summit, a collaborative event with the Indian Centre for Cultural Relations and the Asia Music Connect, a conglomeration of dozens of countries across the continent.
Measures to increase revenue collections
Offering ways to increase revenue collections by reducing scope for evasion of taxes, Rio said that instructions have been issued to all government departments not to award any supply orders or works contract to the firms or contractors who are not registered with the Taxes department.
Efforts are also being made in sectors like Forests and Geology and Mining to tighten up control and supervision of the government agencies over trade in minerals and other natural resources, as well as improve enforcement to increase forest royalty collections
In the Power sector, the government will work to put in place a system to deduct the pending amounts of the defaulters at source, from the government payments due to them.
In the Transport sector, steps are being taken to enhance revenue mobilisation through various measures.
Rio added that new initiatives are also being taken up in the Land Revenue department, while revenue sharing models with source owners and village authorities in the Water Supply sector will aim at enhancing efficiency and accountability.