Next week, the Nagaland Budget for 2024-25 will be presented, outlining the state’s financial roadmap. However, a shadow of apathy hangs over this crucial event, with limited public engagement, scant media scrutiny, and no opposition in the assembly, risking the budget becoming an exercise in opacity. Public engagement with the budget session is notoriously low due to limited access to information and the absence of a strong opposition voice in the assembly.

This lack of public involvement results in an opaque process, characterized by unquestioning acceptance. Local media, often constrained by various factors, tends to echo the government’s narrative, leaving minimal room for critical analysis.

The absence of robust critique leaves citizens uninformed about the economic implications of budgetary allocations. In a democracy, the role of opposition and independent voices is pivotal for ensuring transparency and accountability. However, the lack of opposition in Nagaland contributes to a lack of checks and balances, leaving the government unchallenged in its fiscal decisions.

The scarcity of economists in Nagaland, both within and outside the government, further hampers the critical analysis necessary for informed decision-making. Remarkably, not a single economist in Nagaland has emerged to scrutinize the government’s budget and offer public critique. Even scholars and students of economics, possessing the expertise to delve into economic intricacies, seem disengaged from this vital aspect of governance. The importance of budget analysis cannot be overstated, serving as a tool for evaluating the government’s priorities, allocations, and the overall economic health of the state.

This vacuum of critical analysis is deeply concerning. The budget isn’t just about numbers; it impacts lives, livelihoods, and development priorities. Dictating how resources are allocated, it affects education, healthcare, infrastructure, and every aspect of our lives. Without public understanding and expert critique, the budget becomes a tool for political maneuvering, not an instrument for progress. Potential missteps, inefficiencies, and misallocation of funds go unchecked, hindering the state’s development.

In this context, for media houses like Mokokchung Times, operating away from the power center, the challenge is immense. Yet, the distance can also be an advantage. Free from the pressures of proximity, we hope to offer a more objective perspective, a space for critical analysis.

As the Nagaland Budget Session unfolds, it is imperative that citizens, media, scholars, and economists alike recognize the significance of engaging in rigorous budget analysis. The absence of robust critique not only hampers democratic processes but also deprives the people of Nagaland of the informed discourse necessary for a prosperous and transparent governance system.

It is high time that economic matters take center stage, and the silence surrounding budget sessions is replaced with an informed and active discourse contributing to the state’s development.

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