New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) In a statement that will be construed as a huge boost for the Narendra Modi government, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appealed both India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue via bilateral dialogue.
Guterres' comments thwart Pakistan's efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, first at the UN Security Council recently, then again at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday.
The UN chief met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit last month in Biarritz, France, and has also spoken to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
On September 9, Guterres also met Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN, after a request came from her for a meeting.
"His message to all of them has been the same, both publicly and privately, that he remains very concerned about any potential escalation between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir situation. He appeals to both sides to deal with the issue through dialogue," said UN chief's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
He further added, "You know, our position on mediation has, as a matter of principle, always remained the same."
India's stated policy has been that the Kashmir issue is an internal matter and there is no need for a third-party mediation.
The UN chief's appeal for dialogue between the two countries to solve the contentious Kashmir issue only emboldens India's stand, even as Pakistan is trying to raise the matter at the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Aizawl, Feb 19 (IANS) Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday presented a tax-free budget with an outlay of Rs 10,715 crore for 2020-21.
In the budget, presented on the third day of the budget session, there is no new proposal for levying new taxes or enhancing tax rates for the next fiscal.
Zoramthanga, who also holds the Finance portfolio, told the house that it is a surplus budget of Rs 17.73 crore.
The Chief Minister said that the government has taken a series of steps to increase the state's own tax and non-tax revenue at Rs 1,244.76 crore with an estimated growth of 20.50 per cent compared to 2019-2020 budget.
He said the target would be achieved not by imposing fresh taxes but by a more efficient tax collection and better tax management system.
The budget proposal has fixed the revenue expenditure estimated at Rs 9,021.85 crore, which is 84.20 per cent of the total budget. "Total fund earmarked for capital expenditure to the development of the state amounts to Rs 1,693.15 crore, which is 15.80 per cent of the total estimated expenditure," Zoramthanga added.
With the customary speech of Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, the 5th session of the 8th Mizoram Assembly began here on Monday. The Budget Session will continue till March 14, with a break in between.