By Oken Jeet Sandham
KOHIMA, Mar 30 (NEPS): Accountant General (AG) of Nagaland Rajesh Singh, IAAS, has described as “positive” the Nagaland’s deficit budget of Rs 602.30 crore which was passed on Tuesday in the Assembly. The Accountant General was replying to the media persons when the latter wanted to know the former’s remark on the State’s deficit budget of Rs 602.30 crore during a press conference held in his office chamber on Wednesday.
Elaborating his point, the Accountant General said although there was deficit budget of Rs 602.30 crore, it could not be termed as “bad” if they looked at the Nagaland Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005. He said the Act sought “specific target of State” in terms of its revenue.
“The Act gives road map for improvement of finances in the State, besides it is a pointer of the Government’s seriousness on improvement of finances,” Singh said. As such if they looked at the deficit budget of Rs 602.30 core of the State, it could be described as “positive and forward step.”
Asked as to why the CAG report mentioned some particular designated officials including DGP with regard to fraudulently drawing of money or drawing on fictitious bills etc, the AG explained it didn’t mean that these officials were the ones connected to the matter. The point was those particular offices they ran the affairs of, he stated.
He, however, disclosed that as per the Constitution, they sent draft queries to all the departments with regard to the auditing matters and they had to reply within 6 weeks.
With regard to the delaying of pension paper works, the AG said they had never delayed any paper works such as pension and GPF. “On our part, we have tried our best to dispose off as soon as such papers reached to us from the State Government,” he said.
Explaining on the pension cases of 3900 forced retirees who had even threatened to move Court by filing PIL for Government’s deliberate delaying the process of pension papers and other benefits, Singh said they received 900 pension cases and out of which 700 cases had been disposed off. “I think this is a big thing that we, on our part, have done it,” he said. “The people should appreciate it.”
“It depends on the part of the State Government and if all these pension and GPF papers are sent to us one year before the retirement of the employee concerned, they will get everything on the day of retirement,” the AG mentioned. But the Government had not done so, he pointed out.
The AG also said some Association members of the forced retirees met him in his office chamber here on Wednesday and discussed about their pension and befit problems and some members of another Association would also be meeting him on Thursday.
He, however, narrated that the staffs of the AG would have series of discussions and meetings with the officials from the Civil Secretariat on how they would together solve this lethargic paper works. “So together we are trying to attend to those bottlenecks and expedite the process of paper works,” he added.
Asked whether the State Government had profited by keeping the public money in Civil Deposits, Singh refused to comment on it. He however asked the media persons that the latter could make out why they kept in Civil Deposits.
Asked why the CAG Report could not be tabled on the floor of the House before the Chief Minister presented his Annual Budget, the AG revealed that they had submitted the CAG Report on March 10 to Nagaland Government. “But it is their privilege when to table on the floor of the House,” he added.
It may be mentioned that the 9th Session of 11th Nagaland Assembly commenced on March 22, the Chief Minister who is also in charge of Finance presented his Annual Budget on March 24 and the CAG Report was tabled in Assembly on March 28, the penultimate day of the ongoing Session. As such the members did not get chance to discuss on the report. In fact, former Leader of Opposition and Congress MLA I Imkong questioned why the CAG Report was not tabled before the Annual Budget was presented.