Government of Mizoram
Budget Speech: 1997-98
By Pu J.Lalsangzuala
I rise to present to this august House the Budget
of Mizoram for the year 1997-98.
2. Much against my wish, I am constrained to present
a Budget which is interim in nature. Though the total size of the
next year Plan has been fixed by the Planning Commission, the sectoral
allocations are yet to be finished by them. In the circumstances,
the Plan allocations as made in the Budget at present are tentative
and these would require to be revised later in the light of the sectoral
allocations as approved by the Planning Commission.
3. The year 1997 is blessed to us for more than one
reason. It marks the birth-Centenary of the great son of India, Netaji
Subhas Chandra Bose and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s Independence.
Nearer home, the year represents the Silver Jubilee of the Legislative
Assemble and the successful completion of a decade of the State-hood
for Mizoram. I take this opportunity to congratulate our brethen all
over the country on behalf of this House. No doubt, these are occasions
for rejoicing and celebrations, these also afford us an opportunity
to take stock of how far we have come to meet the new challenges thrown
on our shoulders and rededicate ourselves with renewed vigour to fulfil
the remaining tasks.
4. Before I go further, I would exhort this House
to join me in expressing our sincere gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime
Minister for his historic announcement of the "New Initiative
for the Northern Eastern Region" made at Guwahati on 27th
October, 1996, after visiting the States of the region. I am happy
that at long last, after 50 years of Independence, there is a appreciation
at the highest quarters of the problems afflicting this region for
long and a bold and time-bound comprehensive treatise designed to
strike at the roots of those problems has been conceived. If you permit
me, Sir, I may highlight some of the important features of this package.
5. The spirit underlying the announcement is a firm
resolution for removal of the feeling that the Centres has been giving
step-motherly treatment to this region, by endeavouring to ensure
that the basic infrastructure and the Basic Minimum Services in this
region are so developed as to reach the standards in the rest of the
country in a specific time-frame. In pursuance to this, a High-Level
Commission has been appointed by the Planning Commission on 20th
November, 1996 under the Chairmanship of Pu S.P. Shukla, Member, Planning
Commission, to critically examine the backlog in respect of Basic
Minimum Services and the gaps in infrastructure sectors for development
of States in the North Eastern Region, specially in power, communication,
railways, roads, education, agriculture, etc. and to suggest policies,
programmes and requirement of funds to bridge the same. It is a matter
of pride for us that one of our colleagues, Pu Sainghaka, Vice Chairman
of the State Planning Board, is a member of this High-Level Commission.
The Commission has already submitted its report. It is taken that
adequate additional funds will be provided for the implementation
of the recommendations of this Commission, on an annual basis, over
and above the normal allocations under the Ninth Five Year Plan.
6.The announcement makes a pointed reference to the
lack of adequate employment opportunities, outside the Government
service, on account of absence of major industries or economic activities
in the region. With a view to tackling this problem, another High
Level Expert Committee has been appointed to urgently suggest specific
step to promote employment among the educated unemployed in the North
Eastern States. Other measures envisaged on this subject are
a) extension of the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS)
to all blocks in the region;
b) formulation of a new Industrial Policy specific
to the North Eastern Region and its requirements to promote private
investment, both domestic and foreign;
c) setting up of a special cell in the Reserve Bank
of India to ensure availability of more credit-flow to Industry, Agriculture
and for self-employment schemes in the region ; and
d) strengthening of the presence in the region of
Central agencies concern with the promotion of agriculture, trade
and industry like National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
7. As part of the new initiative, all Central Ministries/Departments
have been asked to earmark at least 10% of their Budget for specific
programmes in the North East. The Border Area Development Programmes
(BADP) as well as Border Roads Programmes will be extended to some
more areas on the Indo-Myanmar border. And, an export policy will
be worked out by the Government of India for promoting border trade
between the North Eastern Region and the countries in South East Asia.
Besides, the proposals for new railway lines coming from States without
rail head or very limited access will be given priority. I am glad
that a sub-committee of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce
made a visit of the State in January last, to look into the development
of potential of trade between the North Eastern Region and the South
East Asian countries. We thank them for the same.
8. Further, based on the proposals made by States
during his visit, the Hon’ble Prime Minister announced a package of
projects and schemes which the Government of India has decided to
take up immediately. In so far as Mizoram is concerned, the package
includes Tuirial Hydro Electric Project (Rs.425 crore), State Referral
Hospital with selected specialities and 200 beds (Rs.40 crore), Phase-II
of Aizawl Urban Drinking Water Supply Scheme (Rs.130 crore), Border
Area Development Programme (Rs.30 crore) and an Industrial Growth
Centre (Rs.10 crore). These account for over 10% of the total package
of Rs.6100 crore announced. (The Tuirial Project is being funded by
the Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF) of Japan).
9. We would be failing in our duty if we do not extend
our thanks to the Hon’ble Union Railways Minister, Pu Ram Vilas Paswan,
also for paying heed to the special communication problems in the
North East and allocating in the railway Budget for 1997-98, an amount
of Rs.300 crore for laying new railway lines in this region. This
includes a scheme for the survey for a line linking Sairang to Aizawl.
We hope that this work would be taken up soon and that in the future
Plans of the Government of India more and more attention would be
paid to our communications problems.
10. With the above in the background, you will agree,
Sir, that our immediate future is pregnant with great possibilities
in the direction of meeting the long-cherished aspirations of the
people of the North East in general and of Mizoram in particular.
We are looking to this developments, particularly the report of the
High-Level Commission, with great hope and expectations.
11. I would like to express our gratitude to the
Government of India on another count. This is the proposal for introduction
of the scheme for supply through Public Distribution System network
of rice and atta at half the price to the families below the poverty
line, from 1st June this year. This would go a long way
in alleviating their miseries.
12. Now I would like to make mention of important
step taken by the State Government in introducing total prohibition
in the State effective from the anniversary day of Statehood this
year. The Hon’ble Members know how the rampant evil of drinking has
been proving a drag on family budgets and sapping the health and energies
of our people, specially the youth, apart from causing law and order
problems. This step is expected to result in the all round well being
of the people, though causing some worry to me as Finance Minister
in finding means to make up for the loss of revenue and for additional
expenditure on enforcement. Necessary infrastructure for effective
implementation of prohibition has been created. However, the real
success of the measure would be possible only through the active co-operation
of the people at large. Sir, I would make an earnest appeal through
you to the people for this purpose in their own interests.
EIGHT FIVE YEAR PLAN 13. In a few days, the Eight
Plan would come to close. This is thus an occasions for having a quick
retrospect of our performance. The size of the Eight Plan of Mizoram
was initially fixed at Rs.763 crore. On present assessment, the expenditure
on the State Plan over the five years (1992-97) is placed at over
Rs.1050 crore. This worked out to increase of more than 37.5% over
the originally outlay. While I take pride for this, I must admit that
this was possible because of the generosity of the Planning Commission
in releasing to us Central assistance of Rs.1130 crore agaist the
original allocation of Rs.760 crore only. Our sincere thanks are due
to them for this gesture. On the other hand, I must be frank to share
with you the fact that inspite of the Planning Commission giving assistance
in excess of the Plan to the extent of Rs.80 crore, the cumulative
deficit by the end of the Eight Plan is expected to mount to Rs.76.79
crore. Such a situation arose because of our failure to mobilize adequate
tax and non-tax revenues, on the one hand, and to control non-Plan
expenditure, on the other. This is to acquaint my colleagues here
with the daunting challenge ahead of us on the threshold of the Ninth
Plan and to prepare them mentally to meet the same.
14. Over the above the Eight Plan allocation mentioned
above, Planning Commission allotted Rs.29.70 crore for the State Capital
Project, Rs.8 crore for Indo-Myanmar trade and Rs.4 crore for the
State University. As for the capital project, Rs.25 crore are likely
to be made available by this year, leaving Rs.4.70 crore for the next
year. The new administrative buildings including this grand new Assembly
building, dotting the sky-line of Aizawl, are witness to how usefully
that money has been spent.
15. The story of our Plan efforts would not be complete
without a mention of the new orientation being given to the Plans
through provision of the Basic Minimum Services. With a view to make
a meaningful dent on the low level of services, seven Basic Minimum
Services were identified at a conference of State Chief Ministers
taken by Hon’ble Prime Minister for giving special treatment in the
development strategy over the period 1996-2000. I made a mention of
this services in my Budget Speech in September last. This includes
provision of safe drinking water and primary health services for all,
universalisation of primary education, public housing assistance to
all shelterless poor families, extension of mid-day meal programme
to cover all rural blocks, urban slums and other disadvantaged sections,
connectively to all unconnected villages and habitations and strengthening
of Public Distribution System with focus on the poor. In the Annual
Plan for 1996-97, a provision of Rs.36.87 crore was made for these
16. The State made an all round progress during the
Eight Plan period (1992-97). If you permit me, Sir, I may highlight
some of the important achievements. During the Eight Plan, the production
of rice, maize, oilseed and pulses far exceeded the targets. Taking
all the horticulture products together, the production was more or
less double of the target. The target for mild, eggs and meat were
17. A potential of 2026 hectares was created and
92% of this utilized under minor irrigation. As many as 53,454 families
benefited under the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) and 10,054 families
under Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP). Employment for
31.32 lakhs mandays was generated under the Employment Assurance Scheme
(EAS). Further, 19,163 urban poor families were identified in Aizawl
and Lunglei for affording an assistance of Rs.10,000 per family.
18. Under Power & Electricity, modernization
and renovation of diesel power stations was completed and the Maicham
Mini Hydel Project was also completed. 60% of the work on Teirei Mini
Hydel and Tuipang Lui Mini Hydel and 50% of the work on Kau-Tlabung
Mini Hydel is expected to be accomplished by the end of Eight Plan.
As regards transmission, the work will be completed on 132 KV Zemabawk
– Khawzawl (87 km), Zemabawk – West Phaileng (60 km), Serchhip – E.Lungdar
(45 km), Serchhip – Marpara (100 km) and Lunglei – Lungsen (40 km)
lines. Besides, 4269 street lights and 7054 service connections were
provided. 673 villages were covered under Rural Electrification.
19. In the road sector, 24.57 km for formation cutting,
458.57 km of improvement and widening, 52 km of soling, 53.4 km of
metalling and 98 km of black topping were undertaken on State Highways.
Besides, 111.92 km of formation-cutting,95.62 km of improvement and
widening, 246.22 km of soling, 205.78 km of metalling and 287.28 km
of black topping was done on Major and other District Roads. As regards
village roads, 165.50 km of formation-cutting, 112.21 km of improvement
and widening, 43.70 km of soling and 8.85 km of black topping were
20. During the Eight Plan, 57 buses were purchased
and 14 new bus stations were constructed, apart from improvement of
33 existing stations. 77,903 domestic tourists visited the State and
230 additional beds were added in tourist bungalows and rest house.
There was all round strengthening of the tourism infrastructure in
the State for attracting more tourists, both domestic and foreign.
21. In the field of education, 1,36,565 boys and
girls on the age group of 6-10 were enrolled covering 87.5% of the
population of the group. In the age group of 11-14, also the enrolment
reached 73%. A population of 50,000 was covered by Adult Education.
The percentage of literacy reach 89.84%, second only to Kerala.
22. In the health sector, 2 new Community Health
Centres, 17 Sub-Centres and 6 Primary Health Centres were established.
The Greater Lunglei Water Supply Scheme was commissioned. The Greater
Serchhip Water Supply Scheme will be completed by April, 1997 and
90% of the work on Greater Kolasib and Greater Saihs schemes is expected
to completed. The Rural Water Supply is expected to cover 523 habitations
and Rural Sanitation 466 habitations.
23. During the Eight Plan, 1165 houses for lower
income group, 1684 houses for middle income group and 240 houses for
economically weaker sections were constructed. In rural areas, 3900
persons were given house construction assistance and 16800 house sites
were provided. A large number of administrative buildings were constructed.
This include Legislative Assembly, additional Secretariat building,
Cobalt Therapy Unit building at Zemabawk, Civil Hospital Administrative
Block, Conference Hall-cum-Auditorium, Mizoram Houses at Calcutta,
Guwahati and Shillong, Office of the Chief Engineer, PWD, Office of
the Suptd., Taxation at Lunglei and Kolasib and Excise Department
offices at Saiha and Kolasib.
24. The account of our progress given above is by
no means an exhaustive one. I propose to bring up a separate booklet
on our performance and programme while presenting the final Budget
later in the year.
NINTH FIVE YEAR PLAN 25. Next year, we are going
to launch the Ninth Five Year Plan. We had discussions with Planning
Commissions on the formulation of the Plan, but they have not yet
indicated the overall size of the Plan beyond the next year 1997-98.
For this year, the Planning Commission has approved an outlay of Rs.290
crore on the State Plan. Against this, the Central assistance allocated
by them is as much s Rs.305.08 crore,implying an improvement of about
17% over the current year. This includes Rs.36.87 crore for Basic
Minimum Services, Rs.20 crore for Prime Minister’s package in the
North East, Rs.5.73 crore for Border Area Development Programme, Rs.5
crore for Externally Aided Projects and Rs. 1 crore for slulm improvement.
In addition, the balance of RS.4.70 crore out of the total allocation
of Rs.29.70 crore made for Capital Project is also likely to be made
available in 1997-98.
26. For 1997-98, the Planning Commission has approved
our proposal for accelerationof the pace of the development of the
Lengpui airport by advancing the grant-in-aid of Rs.17.10 crore recommended
by the Tenth Finance Commission for 1998-99 and providing the total
outlay of Rs.31.35 crore on the airport next year. With this, we would
have spent an amount of Rs.77 crore on this project by then. In order
that the airport is complete by March 1998 as scheduled now, it would
by necessary to approach the Government of India for still larger
allocation. We are seized of the problem and are in touch with the
Government of India in this regard. The commissioning of the airport
would open up immense opportunities for Mizoram in the field of export
of its products to other parts of the country and abroad. There would
be all round fillip to the economic activity in the State in general
by resolving a serious communication bottleneck.
REVISED ESTIMATES FOR 1996-97 27. The Government
opened the year 1996-97 with a deficit of Rs.53.32 crore in their
account with the Reserve Bank of India. Much of this could be attributed
to the lesser receipts from the Centre by way of share of taxes as
compared to the Tenth Finance Commission estimate.
28. As per the Budget Estimates for 1996-97, during
the year transactions were to yielde an over-all surplus of Rs.4.47
crore. The Revised Estimates for this year formulated now turned the
above surplus into an over-all deficit of Rs.23.47 crore implying
a deterioration of Rs.27.94 crore. Hon’ble Members know that for the
reasons explained last year, the Budget I presented then was an interim
one and a number of adjustments had to be made therein during the
course of the year both on Plan and Non-Plan accounts. Provision had
to be made for payment to employees of two installments of Dearness
Allowance with effect from 1.1.1996 and 1.7.1996, Interim Relief with
effect from 1.4.1996, apart from Bonus. Other important item responsible
for increase in expenditure relate to larger provision for salary
of teachers upgraded to higher pay-scale on acquisition of better
educational qualifications and of substitute teachers, introduction
of 10+2 system in high schools, purchase of grid power and maintenance
of diesel power stations, proper maintenance of roads, buildings and
water supply and creation of infrastructure for enforcement of prohibition.
As compared to the Budget Estimates, there was some net increase on
Plan account also. We did our best to contain the damage. Wer mopped
up as much as Rs.24 crore through impounding of increase in Dearness
Allowance and Interim Relief of employees. There was some increase
in receipts under non-tax revenues also mainly under State Lotteries.
Nevertheless, the deficit in the current year as mentioned above is
as large as Rs.23.47 crore.
BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR 1997-98
29. The year 1997-98 is expected to open with a deficit
of Rs.76.79 crore. This colossal deficit cast its dark shadow on the
Budget exercise for the next year.
30. In the budget estimate, the revenue receipts
are placed at Rs.676.97 crore and revenue expenditure at Rs.586.59
crore, revealing a surplus of Rs.90.38 crore on Revenue Account. This
surplus is the result of favourable dispensation of Central assistance
for Plan in the ratio of 90:10 between grants and loans. This is,
however, offset by the deficit of Rs.93.09 crore on Capital Account,
resulting in the net deficit of Rs.2.71 crore in the Consolidated
Fund of the State. However, the Public Account, constituted mostly
of the Provident Fund contributions of the employees, is expected
to reveal a surplus of Rs.40.15 crore. This surplus after covering
the deficit in the Consolidated Fund mentioned above, yields and over-all
surplus of Rs.37.44 crore in the Budget for 1997-98 as against the
deficit of Rs.23.47 crore in 1996-97, I don’t want to take credit
for this improvement as it was largely on account of the sacrifices
of the State Government employees. I would request this House to join
me in proposing a vote of thanks to them. As much as Rs.60 crore would
be get mopped up during the three years 1995-98 through impounding
of their increased emoluments. This is by no means a small job.
31. The job of resolving the financial crisis is
not yet over. Rather it has just begun. Even with the over-all surplus
in 1997-98, as much as Rs.39.36 crore of the opening deficit would
remain outstanding. Further, the liability which may arise consequent
on the report of the Fifth Central Pay Commission and that for payment
of increased Dearness Allowance to employees in 1997-98 is likely
to make the position much worse. The need of the hour is, therefore,
to take some hard decisions however unpleasant these may be, in the
direction of improvement of receipts and controlling expenditures
on unconventional lines. Our Government is fully seized of their responsibilities
and are in the process of evolving in concrete package designed at
fiscal correction and restoration of the balance to the utmost extent
possible. We hope to bring up this package before this House in due
32. I would earnestly exhort this august House to
appreciate that time is more than ripe now to expect a much larger
contribution from the people at large, specially the well-off sections
of the society. The need for mobilization of additional resources
for development has never been greater than now. The Government of
India cannot help us beyond a point if we don not do our mite. Even
God helps only those who help themselves. I made an appeal some time
back to the people to come forward and do their bit through contribution
to various Small Saving Schemes in their own interest and in the general
interest of the State and the Country at large. I would take this
opportunity to request the Hon’ble Members to join me in making an
appeal to the people to lend their helping hand in the efforts at
33. At large stage, I would like to inform this House
that the President has given his assent to the Mizoram Trading Regulation
Bill and steps are being taken up implement its provisions. With this,
the objections of the Mizoram Chamber of Commerce to some of the measures
designed to mobilize additional resources would be fully met. I would,
therefore, appeal to them to extend their full co-operation in the
mobilization of additional resources for the Plan.
34. As required, the Annual Financial Statement for
the year 1997-98 has been laid before this House. However, for the
reason stated already in the beginning and also for the fact that
the passage of the Budget by the House may well go beyond 31st
March, 1997 because of the constitution of Subject Committee of the
House for detailed examination of the demands of different departments,
I am, at this stage, seeking a "Vote on Account" for the
four months April to July only of the fiscal year 1997-98.
35. Sir, in the end, I would like to thank you and
the other members of the House for giving me a patient hearing. I
also express my thanks to the officers and staff of all the departments,
especially the Finance Department and the Government Press. My thanks
are also due to the Mizoram Unit of National Informatics Centre for
36. With these words, I commend the "Vote on
Account" Budget for 1997-98 for consideration and approval of
Thank you, Sir.