Kohima, Oct. 4: Political parties in Nagaland have insisted for a change in the funding pattern of the state, which was created out of a political agreement in 1960.
Members of the 14th Finance Commission arrived here this evening on a three-day visit of the state.
Parties, including the Opposition Congress, have urged the Centre for additional financial support for rapid development of the state. The Congress, which has been criticising the ruling Naga People’s Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland for more than 10 years now for alleged embezzlement of public fund, insisted that more funds be provided to the state.
The Congress along with other political parties, which would be meeting the visiting members of the 14th Finance Commission, said it would request the commission for more funds. “We will ask for additional funds,” said PCC president S.I. Jamir. He said the Congress would meet the members of the commission and apprise them of the need to allot more funds.
Nagaland has been facing a financial crisis after the Centre changed the funding pattern in 1989.
The Congress has been charging the state government for alleged rampant misappropriation of public money by those at the helm of affairs. The party said even the Centre-sponsored scheme funds were grossly misused by the government.
The government was not in a position to release even the salaries of teachers appointed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. It has partly blamed the Congress for receiving fewer funds from the Centre, charges that the Congress has rubbished.
The commission will hold an official meeting with chief minister Neiphiu Rio and other state officials tomorrow and discussions with representatives of rural and urban local bodies, trade, industry and commerce, tribal Hohos and the state’s political parties on October 6.
For the first time ahead of a Finance Commission visit, the state government has admitted to a financial crisis in the state. The Centre reduced Nagaland’s annual plan by 13 per cent. Rio said the Centre’s decision was wrong and requested them to rectify the mistake.
The BJP, which has one MLA in the DAN government, urged the Centre to be more flexible while sanctioning funds for a state like Nagaland. President of the state unit of BJP, N. Chuba Ao, said the 13th Finance Commission’s pattern of funding was not reasonable for states like Nagaland. He said the BJP would urge the commission for additional funding. The JD(U) which also has one MLA in the government said it would submit a memorandum to change the funding pattern and place Nagaland under a special status category.
Party spokesperson Sushilkumar Despande said all political parties should come together and find out ways to salvage the state from this financial crisis. He insisted that political parties set aside trivial politics and come together to find ways for faster development of the state.
“We will definitely request the Finance Commission to change its funding pattern and allot us with additional funds,” he added.
He said unlike other states in the country, Nagaland was born out of a political agreement and that it should be treated differently. The Nationalist Congress Party, which is supporting the DAN from outside, said it would also ask the commission for more funds as the state was facing a financial crunch.
The Naga tribal Hohos and organisations are not happy with the way the finances of the state are managed by the government.