Deficit Budget of Rs 452.47 crs presented
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 11: Chief Minister O Ibobi today informed the House that the year 2003-2004 is expected to close with a deficit of Rs 452.47 crores taking into account the overall estimates of receipts and expenditure.

Presenting the Budget at the Assembly today, the Chief Minister said that the Planning Commission has not yet finalized the Annual Plan Outlay of the State for 2003-04 and hence added that the provisions made under the Plan heads are tentative and may be revised through Supplementary Demands when the State's Plan Outlay is finalized.

The Chief Minister further informed the House that the total receipts for the year 2003-04 excluding Public Account are estimated at Rs 3443.33 crores exhibiting a decrease of Rs 104.67 crores over the Revised Estimates 2002-03.The State's own tax and non tax receipts are estimated at Rs 67.56crores and Rs 109.65 crores respectively, added the Chief Minister.

Earlier before the Chief Minister presented the Budget, MPP MLA Dr Nimaichand Luwang strongly insisted that the territorial integrity issue should be listed on the Business List and ultimately the House agreed that the matter will be discussed in tomorrow's Assembly Session.

Nimaichand insisted that if the matter is not listed and discussed, the Opposition will oppose the adoption of the sixth report of Business Advisory Committee tabled by the Chief Minister.

Dr Nimarchand raised-the issue when Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh tried to get the approval of the Legislature on the sixth report of the Business Advisory Committee.

When Speaker TN Haokip advised the House to take up the next Business after the CM had tabled the report, the MPP leader said that further discussion will be possible only after adopting the report and asked the Speaker to ensure that normal procedure is not violated.

Dr Luwang demanded that to allay the apprehension of the general public a special session be convened to discuss the territorial integrity issue as all the 60 representatives are responsible for preserving the boundary of the State.

In his reply, the Chief Minister said that an all political party delegation had met central leaders and appraising the people's apprehension over the ongoing peace talks between Govt of India and NSCN (IM) cautioned the NDA Government against compromising the territory of Manipur to please the underground outfit.

As the commitment given by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other central leaders not to disturb the State's boundary remain unchanged, convening a session to deliberate on the matter will be akin to provoking the issue, the CM observed.

He further reasoned that due to apprehension of causing undue tension between various communities of the State Government had shelved the idea of convening the special session.

Appealing to all the members not to politicize the issue, Speaker TN Haokip said the items listed in the Business were finalized after consulting the Opposition and all party leaders.

I Hemochandra intervened and said that due to the seriousness of the issue, discussion on the matter is essential and there is no intention of politicizing the territorial integrity issue.

Expressing similar sentiment, MPP's O Joy, who is also a member of Business Advisory Committee, said adopting the report tabled is dependent on the decision of the House and desired that the territorial integrity issue be discussed by the Committee along with other bills.

He further suggested that the territorial issue be discussed as a general motion as amending the Report will amount to undermining accepted norms and regulation of the House.

Joining the deliberation, Opposition leader RK Dorendra said that the State Government did not propose to include the territorial issue in the Business list and hence the topic was left out.

He further said that the Chief Minister should table a motion on the issue for discussion.