Growth-oriented Assam budget proposes no new tax on public

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Guwahati: Assam’s first woman finance minister Ajanta Neog on Friday presented rupees 566.20 crore deficit budget in the State legislative assembly. The first full-fledged 2021-22 budget of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma led Bhartiya Janata Party’s coalition government in Dispur maintained its focus on sustained development and growth even without levying any new tax burden on the public.
Speaking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Neog admitted that it has severely affected the State economy in the last financial year reducing the tax collection to rupees 14,645 crore (from 14,967 crore in 2020-21 fiscal year). The aggregate government income is estimated to be rupees 2,89,770.68 crore (for 2021-22), where the total expenditure for the financial year has been calculated to be rupees 2,89,367.10 crore, stated the finance minister.
In her budget speech, Ms Neog reflected the electoral promises of BJP with one lakh jobs in various government departments. She added that maximum manpower will be absorbed in education, health, home, animal husbandry, panchayat & rural development, environment & forest transformation, etc. The government will procure necessary handloom items directly from indigenous weavers. The rural weavers will be trained for skill up-gradation and counters to be raised in Assam Bhawans and other places.
She also emphasized on new mechanisms for ensuring Guwahati hills encroachment-free and open public places for the benefit of citizens. New wildlife safari and rescue centers are proposed in Dibrugarh and Silchar. Azgar reserve forest in Goalpara district is to declared as a wildlife sanctuary. Moreover, the expansion of Orang National Park areas is also proposed in the budget.
Five new medical colleges in Bongaigaon, Tamulpur, Golaghat, Morigaon and Dhemaji have been proposed where as cancer hospitals are coming up in Guwahati, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Mangaldoi, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Diphu, Dibrugarh and Silchar by 2022. A State university has been proposed in Karbi Anglong district. It also proposes to offer financial aids to Goalpara Sainik School along with other reputed and century old educational institutions.
The finance minister proposed rupees one lakh aid to each corona-victim family of Assam. Moreover, 1000 health sub-centers are expected to be converted to hospitals. To minimize the learning loss, the budget proposed to offer smart phones to 8 lakh class IX and X students in government schools. Similarly, 1000 model Anganwadi centers with child care facility would be established. Provisions for a flood-free Assam by constructing 1000 km embankment-roads and an Agriculture Commission to focus on various agri-issues have also been proposed.
CM Sarma termed the budget as a public welfare oriented documents. He congratulated the finance minister her for placing 1.07 lakh crore budget proposal without imposing any additional tax over the people.
Underlining the finance minister’s budget proposals for waiving micro-finance loans to eligible beneficiaries, jobs for unemployed youth, increase in the number of beneficiaries and monthly financial assistance of Arunodoi scheme, Sama stated those as very significant.
The budget gives a glimpse of the revolution envisioned by the government in fields of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and veterinary sector, commented Sarma. The proposals made for electricity connection in every Anganwadi centre, setting up around 1000 hospitals in rural areas apart from construction of five new medical colleges were revolutionary, he asserted adding that with an aim to reduce the digital divide in the Covid-19 induced situation, the budget proposal for offering smart phones to students is also praiseworthy.
Non-residents Assamese families also appreciated the budget proposal. FASS International termed it a progressive budget for the ongoing financial year. As Assam is an agriculture-based State and enough importance has been given for this sector in the budget is commendable, said a statement of the organization adding that it also gives good focus on the tea industry and the plantation families.
Finally, they describe it as a balanced budget focusing on a strong foundation and also growth for both public and private sectors.