AIZAWL, May 23 - The coronavirus-induced financial crisis has forced the Mizoram Government to defer payment of salaries to its employees.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who also holds the Finance portfolio, told media persons here today that the Cabinet has adopted austerity measures, including deferment of salaries.
Pointing out that the salaries alone cause a cash outflow of about Rs 290 crore a month, Zoramthanga said the Cabinet has recommended deferment of 15 per cent of the gross salaries for Group A, 10 per cent for Group B and 5 per cent for Group C and D employees from June to August. The salaries of All India Services officials on deputation to the State Government will also be deferred, but the police and Health department employees will be exempted.
Zoramthanga said the deferment of salaries would reduce the monthly cash outflow by about Rs 35 crore.
The Cabinet also decided to increase VAT on high speed diesel and motor spirit from 12 per cent to 14.5 per cent and 20 per cent to 25 per cent respectively from June 1. As a result, diesel will cost Rs 62 per litre and petrol Rs 69.87 per litre.
Home and Taxation Minister Lalchamliana, who was also present in the press conference, said even after the hike, fuel prices in Mizoram would still be one of the lowest among the NE States. With this, the department hopes to earn additional revenue of Rs 9.3 crore per year, he said.
With the drastic decline in funds received from the Centre, like post-devolution deficit grants, share of taxes and GST, the Cabinet has also considered budgetary cuts, namely a 25 per cent cut in office expenses, 35 per cent in domestic travel expenses of all departments, excluding Health and police Departments, and Deputy Commissioners, 15 per cent cut in supplies and procurement of materials for all departments except Food and Civil Supplies Department, 25 per cent in minor works and 15 per cent in major works, among others.
Zoramthanga said this budgetary cut would result in saving about Rs 190 crore. “Priority will be given to expenditure under major/minor works which can create stimulus for the economy and labour-intensive works to create more jobs,” he said.