Mizoram's 9th budget session introduces 'Bana Kaih' policy for infrastructure

Mizoram's 9th budget session introduces 'Bana Kaih' policy for infrastructure

The Governor outlined the government's commitment to efficient administration and the development of Mizoram.

Mizoram's 9th budget session introduces 'Bana Kaih' policy for infrastructure Mizoram's 9th budget session introduces 'Bana Kaih' policy for infrastructure

The Second Session and Budget Session of the Ninth Mizoram Legislative Assembly commenced today, on  February 19. The session is scheduled for March 13.

The session commenced with an address by the Governor, Dr. Hari Babu Kambhampati. Following the Governor's address, a Motion of Thanks was moved by Baryl Vanneihsangi, MLA, expressing gratitude on behalf of the Members of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly for the Governor's address delivered on 19th February 2024. This was followed by the presentation to the House of the First Report of the Business Advisory Committee for the current session by the Speaker, along with the announcement of the Panel of Chairmen.

Here are the top points from the governor's speech.

Economically self-sufficient

"I express my sincere greetings and warm wishes to this House and to the people of Mizoram. I would like to reiterate my Government’s commitment towards providing efficient, responsive, responsible, accountable and transparent administration at all levels of governance. My Government’s vision is to be economically self-sufficient; to usher agricultural and infrastructural growth, to bring about industrial development, as well as to empower our youth through skill development, entrepreneurship programmes and sports". 

Active participation in the electoral process

"I would also like to take this opportunity to once again commend and appreciate the people’s active participation in the electoral process last year. The people’s aspiration for change has been unambiguous. They have sought a change in the manner in which the state has run, a change in priorities, and a change in the processes and focus of governance. I assure the people that my Government shall make every effort to be true to the mandate". 

Tireless efforts to make Mizoram most developed state

"I am confident that under able leaders like you, Mizoram will continue on its path of lasting peace, economic prosperity and all-round development despite challenges that face us from time to time. I am convinced that with your tireless efforts and your vision for the state and its people, Mizoram will one day take its place as one of the most developed and progressive states in the country making the dream of ‘Viksit Bharat’ or Developed India by 2047 come true. Hon’ble Members, The purpose of a Budget is to create a conducive economic space and find the resources to achieve various socio-economic objectives. We must remember that every Budget strives to create an enabling atmosphere for farmers, entrepreneurs, workers and businesses to take initiatives for robust growth and ensure that the benefits of growth reach all sections of the population. Whether or not today’s announcements make tomorrow morning’s headlines matters little, as long as they help in shaping the headlines that describe Mizoram a few years from now". 

Re-think and make way for new policies

"At present, I acknowledge the economic space is constrained and we do have challenges and issues to address in the state of our economy and our financial condition. Due to small base of our own tax revenue, decreasing Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant, low level of investment by private sectors and at the same time, to meet higher committed expenditure, the state has to resort to borrowings, hence, we have a public burden and fiscal deficit. But, with every challenge, there is always an opportunity – to re-think, re-assess and make way for new ideas and policies". 

Must be cruel only to be kind

"To correct economic headwinds, we need a multi-pronged approach that must include, among others, fiscal prudence, financial discipline, austerity measures, judicious resource management and effective mobilization. However, we must bear in mind that all these steps cannot bring overnight changes in our economy and better our financial condition. It requires time, hard decisions and bold steps before getting desirable results. Hence, we must be prepared for at least a year of financial consolidation and fiscal stabilization. Fiscal consolidation alone cannot be effected only by cutting expenditure but wherever possible, revenues must also be augmented and generated as well. Economic policy, as in medical treatment, often requires us to do something, which, in the short run, may be painful, but is good for us in the long run. We are now at a juncture where it might be necessary to make hard decisions. As Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark had said in Shakespeare’s immortal words, “I must be cruel only to be kind”. 

Make Mizoram a truly Welfare State

"We have to improve our macroeconomic environment and strengthen domestic growth drivers to sustain growth. For this, we have to accelerate the pace of reforms keeping in mind fiscal prudence. I know that mere words are not enough. The time has come to review the allocative and operational efficiencies of Government expenditure prudently to achieve maximum output. Our aim must be to transform Mizoram into a truly Welfare State which is self-reliant, and its development, is both inclusive and sustainable and where governance is transparent and participatory". 

Reinforcing objectives of growth, stability and equity

"Towards this end, my Government is committed to striking a fine balance among the three mutually reinforcing objectives of growth, stability and equity. The growth rate of an economy is correlated with the investment rate and I feel that attracting investment is quite an urgent need that we must focus upon. Investment is an act of faith. We need to improve communication of our policies to remove any apprehension or distrust in the minds of investors, including fears about undue regulatory burden. Our ‘Ease of Doing Business’ must be seen as easy, friendly and mutually beneficial. I am confident that the Mizoram Sustainable Investment Policy 2024, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 5th February 2024, will be an earnest step towards attracting investment in various sectors of our economy". 

Create employment opportunities and enhance infrastructure

"This Policy envisages the creation of investment zones, the establishment of an Industrial Infrastructure Maintenance Fund, terms of land lease to outside investors, sector-wise safeguards for indigenous entrepreneurs and institutional and procedural frameworks for investment to name a few. The Policy will aid in attracting diversified investments, create employment opportunities, enhance infrastructure, promote skill development, facilitate technology adoption and boost the overall socio-economic growth of the state. Agriculture has been the single most important source of livelihood for the rural masses in our state, contributing to about 26 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product. It is an important sector for food security, employment generation and economic growth. Since a large workforce of our state is engaged in agricultural and allied activities, targeted development of agriculture and allied sectors will be a core priority of my Government".   

Improving the marketing aspect of agricultural produce

"I am happy to share that recently the Council of Ministers in its meeting held on 5th February 2024, approved the Operational Guidelines for Agricultural Market Assurance Fund (AMAF) for procurement of notified crops produced in the state through State Level agencies from farmers associations, societies, Farmers Interest Groups (FIG), Farmers Producer Organization(FPO) and Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS). Initially, four crops – ginger, turmeric, chilly and broomsticks are being targeted and in subsequent years, I hope more crops may be included. Improving the marketing aspect of agricultural produce by increasing physical market infrastructure and protecting the general interest of farmers will be accorded importance as well. Horticulture, fisheries, veterinary and animal husbandry and sericulture activities, which are key means of livelihood will also be given renewed attention". 

A new hand-holding policy – ‘Bana Kaih’

"This year, a new hand-holding policy – ‘Bana Kaih’ will be launched by my Government. This innovative policy will address the issue of availability of institutional credit, particularly microcredit, both for agriculture and small industrial endeavours which have been a pertinent issue in the past. The policy will be implemented syncing various programmes, schemes and initiatives of the Central Government. My Government recognizes the need for the development, construction and maintenance of infrastructure in the State, among which road infrastructure is the most important. In a hill state like ours, improving road connectivity has been a major challenge. My government is committed to leave no stone unturned to improve the quality of all roads and to ensure better road networks and connectivity with neighbouring states". 

Lack of adequate infrastructure is a major constraint

"Improvements of all projects under the Road sector are being prioritised. Innovations and new practices in road technology will be incorporated wherever possible. Lack of adequate infrastructure is a major constraint on our growth. Development projects particularly those related to infrastructure have to be monitored properly to ensure public accountability, timely completion and quality control. Mizoram State Project Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Mizoram was constituted on January 22, 2024, to mandate monitoring of important and major infrastructure development projects. My Government will endeavour to make the state self-reliant in power and energy, with special emphasis on additional power generation through solar and other renewable energy sources. Efforts will be made to improve efficiency in the generation, transmission and distribution of power". 

Focus on improving all facets of urban life

"My Government will increase focus on improving all facets of urban life by putting in serious efforts to make the best use of the various Schemes of the Central Government and also augment them through available resources of the state to address urban challenges we face today. At the same time, rural development and poverty alleviation will be key priority areas since development will not be inclusive if the pace of development is not the same in rural areas". 

Encouraging entrepreneurship and self-employment

"We must realise the importance of preserving our environment not only for the present generation, but also for future ones and the dangers that Climate Change and Global Warming pose towards the environment. Economic growth at the expense of the environment is not what Mizoram and our country needs but rather a synergy between the two. Priority will be laid to ensure that opportunities are open for the youth to excel in various professional and vocational fields with necessary incentives and capacity building programmes. Entrepreneurship and self-employment will be encouraged for which necessary training and awareness programmes on skill development will be given impetus". 

Efforts to place Mizoram as a preferred tourist destination

"The changing economic scenario and rising social expectations require significant changes in our educational programmes. The National Education Policy 2020 will be a guiding force in enhancing the quality of education in consonance with the traditional values and ethos of Mizo society. For an agricultural and non-industrial-based economy like ours, tourism has tremendous potential to generate revenue and employment generation. Efforts to place Mizoram as a preferred tourist destination in the domestic and international circuit will be undertaken in a focused manner. Rural tourism can help the rural economy and special emphasis will be laid to encourage community participation in tourism activities. Simultaneously various measures for the promotion of industries and industrial activity in the State will be taken up. My Government will give priority to providing welfare programmes and services to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the society. The menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking that has assumed alarming proportions in our State is one the Government recognizes with all seriousness. Measures will be taken to eradicate these social evils. The Government is committed to preserve and promote Mizo identity, tradition and values". 

Work for the unity and brotherhood of all Mizo people

"This Government will endeavour to work for the unity and brotherhood of all Mizo people living within India and across the globe within our constitutional framework. Since the economy of Mizoram is chiefly agriculture-driven and non-industrial, it has a smaller tax revenue base than many other states. Innovative steps with public support need to be taken to widen our revenue sources and increase revenue collection since such measures will contribute to the strengthening of the State’s economic condition. Our broad vision and strategy need to be growth with equity, based on enhanced livelihood options through agriculture and rural development, better resource management and development of human resources including relevant skill upgradation".  

Should we be victims of mere populism or wasteful expenditure?

"The prevailing economic situation presents a great challenge. It calls for a conscious choice to be made by all of us. Should we allow this drift to carry on and watch helplessly? Should we allow our future to suffer because of our indecisiveness? Should we be victims of mere populism or wasteful expenditure? To me, the response and the remedy are both clear. The task ahead of us, is no doubt, very challenging because we need to sustain growth, raise and mobilise adequate resources for our developmental needs". 

Committed to maintenance peace and unity

"On the other hand, the task is simple if we accept the principle that we cannot spend beyond our means. As I have outlined earlier in my speech, we need to introduce fiscal prudence that will lead to fiscal consolidation and discipline. Bold steps need to be taken to enhance economic activity and spur economic growth. I assure you that My Government remains committed to bringing about prosperity and all-round development for the people of Mizoram and maintenance of peace and unity within the State. I am confident that My Government will continue to receive the continued cooperation and support of the Hon’ble Members of the House and of the citizens of Mizoram". 

Transparency and accountability to the public

"Democracy acknowledges diversity, respects dissent, encourages debate, and decides through a government of elected representatives. Neither populism nor majoritarianism nor individualism is an alternative way of governance. Finally, I would like to remind this august gathering about our responsibility and commitment to the electorate and make all efforts to observe financial propriety, transparency and accountability to the public. I convey my best wishes to you once again and wish you very fruitful deliberations".

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: Feb 19, 2024