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President Pranab Mukherjee in a group photo with Members of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly at Naharlagun on November 29, 2013.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From Memory Lane: Why I wanted to protest

By Mukut Mithi
FLASHBACK February 2004. I was hurt and anguished. As the leader of the Opposition in Arunachal Pradesh Assembly I knew I did not have the number. But I wanted to protest. I wanted to tell the people of the state how then BJP government of the state resorted to financial mismanagement and even malpractices. Being a state with limited resources, Arunachal Pradesh could not afford to witness such misuse of Central government funds.
I had the facts and figures with me. The idea of my moving the no-confidence motion against then Gegong Apang-led BJP government was not to dislodge the government per se, but to share with the people of the state how government funds were misutilised and even grossly misused for building party cadres. I made it very clear in the beginning of my speech that the no-confidence motion was moved not for any partisan reasons, but to tell the people the truth behind.
We had only 16 MLAs. And on an expected line, my motion got defeated. But I made my thoughts loud and clear: point by point. Here it is.

Full Text of The Speech
(February 27, 2004)
Mr Speaker, Sir, I rise to move and initiate the debate on this No-Confidence Motion against the BJP-Led UDF Government. It is not my intention to move this No-Confidence Motion for any partisan reasons because protecting the genuine interest of the people in the state are far more important than the interest of any political party or whatever their numbers in the State Legislative Assembly.
Sir, this motion is borne out of the deep sense of responsibility and anxiety towards the people of our most backward state in the country. It is also borne out of genuine concern for the direction that our state is heading. There is a general uneasiness amongst the people…
…about the way this government is conducting itself in the business of arrogant Governance. There is now a real danger that all development issues are likely to be the ultimate casualty affecting the socio-economic benefit to the grass root population severely. As a result of all this, the state that suffer; ultimately the people of the state that suffer; thus widening the existing huge gap further between haves and have-nots.
Sir, I base this No-Confidence Motion on Seven specific failures of the present BJP-led UDF Government, which is quite evident and compelling.

1. I charge this Government, which is responsible to topple a democratically elected Government and form another Government through dubious means and back door manipulation without mandate from the people violating the spirit of our constitution.
2. I charge this Government to compromise with the territorial integrity of the state.
3. I charge this Government with ruining the financial health of the state due to financial indiscipline, financial mismanagement and wasteful expenditure.
4. I charge this Government with destroying probity in Administration and Public life.
5. I charge this Government with derailing the development process of the state.
6. I charge this Government with willfully wrecking social harmony between various ethnic groups within the state.
7. I charge this Government for mishandling and neglecting the Law & Order problems in the state.
Our indictment is comprehensive, just as their failures are complete. Let me now deal, Mr Speaker, Sir, with each and every failure one by one.

TOPPLING OF GOVERNMENT
During August 2003, the democratically-elected State Government through public franchise was toppled by an unholy alliance encouraged and abated by the BJP at the center in a systematic manner. The issue was raised by the Leader of Opposition Smt. Sonia Gandhi in Parliament on Motion of No-Confidence against the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre on 18th August 2003. This unholy move was badly criticized in no uncertain terms by all Non NDA Political parties participating in the debate in the parliament.
The National newspaper “Hindustan Times” of August 6 carried a news item quoting an internal BJP paper (Not for circulation to the media) which I quote, “The recent changes in Arunachal Politics have been mainly possible because of hectic backdoor support of the BJP Leaders.” I can say with confidence that the BJP-led NDA Government in the Centre is playing with fire in one of the most sensitive areas of our country for their selfish and narrow party interest.
Mr Speaker, Sir, we are watching in the print and electronic media with continuous bombardment through advertisement of “SHINING INDIA” by the BJP-led NDA Government for the last few weeks before the ensuing Parliamentary election. The unholy toppling of the State Government do not match with the claim made in the SHINING INDIA CAMPAIGN because the Central Government by their act to topple a constitutionally elected Government violating the spirit of our Constitution enacted apolitical game which can surely be termed as “DARK INDIA” instead of a SHINING INDIA.

TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
Mr Speaker, Sir, Arunachal Pradesh, the land of rising sun was created to fulfill the wishes and aspirations of the people in the state to preserve their distinct tribal culture and entity and march on the development highway with the rest of the country. The territorial boundary of the state is not a negotiable item. This has been the unequivocal stand of the state even during the last and previous State Governments.
The territorial boundary issue cannot now be wished away by the present Government due to whimsical decision taken during few months of their governance. The State Government is deliberately silent on the policy to be adopted in the present context and we demand a categorical and clear statement from the present Government about their firm stand on this sensitive issue to remove apprehension from the hearts and minds of the people.

FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT
Mr Speaker, Sir, during my tenure as Chief Minister, total Plan outlay for 2003-04 for Arunachal Pradesh, was fixed at Rs 708.00 Crore after discussion between me and the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on 27 March 2003. Subsequently an additional fund of Rs 15.00 Crore was also agreed by the Central Government raising the figure to Rs. 723.00 Crore. I understand that the same plan outlay has been reassessed now and fixed at only Rs. 424.20 Crore which effectively means a reduction of Rs. 298.80 Crore in terms of current plan outlay. Can a poor and backward state like ours can afford this reduction without compromising the development schemes meant for the benefit of poor grass root people of the state. Certainly not?
It is amply clear that this reduction has occurred due to sudden increase in avoidable Non-Plan Revenue expenditure due to adoption of competitive populism without caring for prudent financial management thus ignoring the development need of the people. Moreover though the Annual Plan outlay for 2003-04 has now been pegged at Rs. 424.20 Crore but distribution of Plan resources has been made for Rs. 723.00 crore. Where from the present government will bridge the resource gap of Rs. 298.80 Crore? I would like to have a categorical statement from the Government explaining the whole issue and remedy thereof.
Mr Speaker Sir, if all the allotted resources are fully spent by the various Government departments, there will not only be a severe financial crisis for the state but may also lead to unproductive and wasteful expenditure since there has been unprecedented delay in finalizing and release of the Annual Operating Plan of various Government departments. Sir, you will be surprised to know that the AOP for 2003-04 was released only during middle of January`2004 leaving only two months for implementation of AOP approved schemes during the current financial year. Sir, what kind of financial management it is?
Mr Speaker, Sir, it is learnt that the expenditure of State Government in the Non-Plan Revenue expenditure during the current financial year is sky rocketing and it is likely to be Rs. 900.00 crore against the budget estimate of 2003-04 of Rs. 664.00 Crore. Such increase of Rs. 236.00 Crore will be in total violation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the state Government and the Finance Ministry, Government of India on 26 March` 2003. Such violation by the present Government will create following problems for our state.
As per Memorandum of Understanding subsequent to recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission (EFC) with additional terms of reference, which I quote “Release from the incentive funds will be based on a single monitorable fiscal objective. Each stage will be expected to achieve a minimum improvement of 5 percentage points in the revenue deficit/ surplus as a proportion of their revenue receipt each year till 2004-05. The base year will be financial year 1999-2000. For revenue surplus states, Ministry of Finance agreed that it would be adequate if with improving revenue balance, these states showed 3 percentage points annual improvement in their BCR as percentage of the Non-Plan revenue receipt”.
Arunachal Pradesh is a revenue surplus state and its government agrees with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, on the parameter of the BCR as a percentage of Non-Plan revenue receipt as the bench mark for the reforms programme. Arunachal Pradesh’s year wise consolidated balance from current revenue (BCR) as a percentage of Non-Plan revenue receipt as projected by Government of Arunachal Pradesh in the Medium Term Fiscal Reforms Programme and the amount of incentive fund due for Arunachal Pradesh is as follows:
Year     Balance from current revenue as of Non-Plan Revenue Receipts as projected by Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh            Amount of Incentive Fund due for Arunachal Pradesh
                               (Rs. in crore)
                                    Part-A  Part-B  Part-C
1999-2000 ACT          -32.00                         
2000-2001ACT           -34.08  36.69   0.52     37.21
2001-2002 Pre ACT    -27.48  37.01   0.90     37.91
2002-2003       -16.65  36.92   0.97     37.89
2003-2004 (Proj)         -18.61  36.28   1.09     37.37
2004-05
(Proj)   -16.78  37.28   1.10     39.88
Total (2000-2005)                   184.18 4.58     188.76

I would like to mention here that Incentive Fund for the year 2000-01 and 2001-02 were received by the state Government due to prudent financial management during that period. Mr Speaker, Sir, I am sorry to mention that the kind of Financial Mismanagement shown by the present government during 2003-2004 which has been indicated in my speech earlier not only indicate the violation of MoU with Government of India but also deprive the state to received Incentive Fund further which will adversely affect our state budget to follow up development programme effectively. This mismanagement only shows that the State Leadership is singularly incapable of managing financial health of the state through prudent and long-term fiscal management for the over all benefit of the state and its people.
Mr Speaker, Sir, it has been a great concern to all of us that Central Fund of Rs. 7.50 Crore released to the State Government to take up Flood Restoration works in the State under Rajiv Gandhi drinking water supply mission. This fund was grossly miss utilized only by few selected people for their personnel benefit in the State Government. Further an amount of Rs. 8.00 crore was released for Flood Restoration works under the same mission which we seriously apprehend that it is also likely to be grossly miss utilized by vested interest thus depriving the people from the benefit at the grass root level. Moreover Rs. 27.00 crore which has been released by the Central Government under National Calamity Contingency Relief Fund to take up flood Restoration Works in the state are also likely to be misused which need to be checked effectively and immediately. Our great concern on these issues were brought to the notice of His Excellency, the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh for immediate remedial action.
Mr Speaker, Sir, it is also reported that casual labourers of 5 (Five) PWD Divisions namely Longding, Dumporijo, Namsai, Ziro and Doimukh are not getting their wages from January`2004. This is another example of financial mismanagement practiced by the present State Government.
Mr Speaker, Sir, there has been rampant corruption while carrying out transfers and postings immediately after installation of the present Government. Government officials have been compelled to spend huge sums of money either to avoid arbitrary/ punishment transfers or for suitable lucrative postings. It may be pertinent to mention here that authorities deciding on such transfer and posting are charging Rs. 2.00 lakh to 10 lakh for each field posting. Officials have been forced to part with huge sums even for a regular promotion in their respective cadre. Mr. Speaker, Sir, all of us are aware that money spent by Government officials on such issues mentioned above are not spent from their personnel account but as a part of give and take from the current development projects. Whom should we blame Sir? It is for the Members of the Assembly to take a view on such burning issues where development in a poor state likes ours are forced to take a back seat for lack of adequate resources.

DERAILING THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Mr Speaker, Sir, the present BJP-led UDF Government submitted large number of Development Proposal amounting to rupees of more than 998.00 Crore to the Government of India for approval. It appears from the list of proposal that in a single Constituency of Upper Siang, proposal worth Rs. 75.00 Crore has been included out of which Rs. 30.00 Crore is earmarked only for a particular scheme. Proposal costing nearly Rs. 350.00 crore has been earmarked against 4 (Four) Districts only leaving other 12 (Twelve) Districts with very insignificant amount. Worst of all, 3 (Three) Districts have been practically ignored as far as their development need are concerned.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, such a step motherly attitude of the present state Government will neither help the state for a balance development throughout its length and breadth nor it will bring cohesiveness amongst the different tribal communities yearning for development in a peaceful manner. This proposal, if implemented, will only increase intra-district disparities but also generate ill feeling amongst different constituents of tribal society in the state.
Shri Gegong Apang, the Chief Minister in a statement recently claimed that he is responsible for development of all districts in the state though he may hail from a particular constituency/district. But his approach to initiate development programmes mentioned above only proves hollowness of his statement which appears only for public consumption with a diversionary approach. Mr Speaker, Sir, the Chief Minister will be totally responsible for any ill consequences generated amongst the people for his parochial and vindictive approach towards development instead of a constructive and wholesome approach.

SOCIAL DISHARMONY
Mr Speaker, Sir, some of the crucial decisions taken by the present Government during the last six-month are causing serious social disharmony amongst different ethnic groups within the state. For example despite opposition from 80% of the Population of newly created Anjaw District bifurcating the old Lohit District, establishment of District Head Quarter at Hawai instead of Hayuliang is in the process of implementation to satisfy the ego of a particular political leader which is causing bad blood amongst the people. Even people have to rush to the judiciary to seek remedy, which was avoidable in the greater public interest if the leader is receptive of the public wishes.
Similarly the District Head Quarter of Newly created Kurung Kumey District was fixed at Laying Yangte and the District Administration started functioning accordingly. Now there is a new move to shift the District Head Quarter at Koloriang, which is causing dissension amongst the people of the district, this was immensely avoidable. Mr Speaker, Sir, it will be immensely desirable in the greater public interest and harmony not to open Pandora’s box by the present government only to create social disharmony and dissension.

NEGLECTING LAW AND ORDER
Mr Speaker, Sir, the present Chief Minister is often quoted from his public uttering that Arunachal Pradesh is an island of peace but the incidence reported from all over the state during his tenure of only six months, is totally contrary to his public uttering. During his tenure, criminals and miscreants have been given free hand to intimidate even Hon’ble Speaker and Cabinet Ministers, not to speak of ordinary law abiding Citizens of the state. It is also widely known that some miscreants entered the official residence of a Minister and forcefully demanded large amount and threatened with dire consequences if he does not comply with their demands. The matter has been reported to the law and order authority from time to time but actual culprits are yet to be nabbed/ punished.
Recently one OC of Border road Organization working in Arunachal Pradesh was brutally killed by miscreants. One Government teacher and his family were also killed by criminals. A bomb blast, which was hitherto unknown in Arunachal Pradesh, has also made a dramatic entry into the state. Person holding the highest administrative post in the district misbehaves with the people creating social unrest amongst the people. Mr Speaker, Sir, should we still believe that Arunachal Pradesh is still an island of peace despite all the incidents mentioned above or it is simply the absence of will power of the present Government to enforce law & order according to the criminal law of justice? Does it not lower the image of the state outside Arunachal Pradesh?
Development and law and order problem cannot be complimentary to each other. North East Region has been the biggest casualty in terms of development because of serious law and order break down. Arunachal Pradesh so far was more or less free from this virus. I would like to warn the present Government to take immediate concrete steps to tackle law & order problems without any political bias or narrow partisan considerations, otherwise development works are bound to suffer.

CONCLUSION
Mr Speaker, Sir, it is our legitimate right to speak our minds and our voices are heard loud and clear so long it is in the greater interest of the people and well-being of the state. They have formed the Government without the mandate from the people violating the spirit of the Constitution but will not allow the Government to bulldoze the opposition to silence their voices.
Mr Speaker, Sir, the BJP-led UDF Government has shown itself to be utterly incompetent, irresponsible and brazenly corrupt. It is a Government without a mandate from the people. It is a Government that does not work for the good of all the people. It is a Government whose days are numbered.
Sir, eventually, I commend this No-Confidence Motion to this House.

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