Guwahati, Feb 6 : Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today presented deficit budget which was laced with welfare schemes starting from providing rice at Rs 1 to BPL families, gold to brides belonging to all communities, free school uniform to students and record enhancement in government funding to all religious places across the state.
The Budget Estimates of 2019-20 show a receipt of Rs 98,339.05 crore under the consolidated fund of the State, the minister said in his budget speech while adding that out of this, Rs 83,147.99 crore is on revenue account and the remaining Rs 15,191.06 crore is under capital account.
Mr Sarma who presented his third budget said that the budget had three strands Ekatrikaran consolidation of the policies and actionables from previous two years; Somprasaron: augmentation of vision and ambitions; and Uttoron: giving life to expressions by bringing a culture of excellence in the work we do as a government. Altogether he announced 18 flagship schemes.
“I am happy to announce that we shall give ‘one tola gold’, costing around Rs 38,000 as on today, to brides belonging to all such communities of our State where it is customary to provide gold at the time of wedding. The benefit under this scheme can be availed upon formal registration of the marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954 and will reach the beneficiaries right in time for the social marriage,” said the minister.
The scheme will be available to citizens whose annual income is below Rs 5 lakh. Rs 300 crore has been earmarked for the proposal in the budget of 2019-20.
Giving details of the Affordable Nutrition & Nourishment Assistance (ANNA) Yojana, Mr Sarma said that the the government will provide rice at a subsidized rate of Re one per kg instead of the present Rs three per kg in order to further strengthen food security for the people. He said that the scheme is expected to benefit 53 lakh households across the State and added that the government will start the pilot implementation of ANNA Yojana from March, 2019.
Further augmenting the free admission scheme of the government, the finance minister on Wednesday announced that the provision of admission fee waiver to upto degree level will be extended to those parents whose potential annual income is below Rs two lakh and that the government will provide free text books to students up to degree level (Arts, Science & Commerce) from the present level of Class XII.
One of the other major highlight of the budget was rise in state allocation of grant to religious places the state by more than two lakh rupees.
The finance minister further announced a subsidy of Rs 700 per student per month to be paid for 10 months in a year, irrespective of their economic status, on the mess bills, for those students staying in the hostels of government, or provincialized colleges and universities.
The finance minister also said that the government is going to introduce a new scheme in the financial year 2019-20, to provide battery operated ‘e-bikes’ to all girl students who secure first division or above in their higher secondary examinations for commuting to their places of higher studies.
The minister also announced an incentive scheme for private employers to recruit local youths.
“We will give an incentive to the employers to the tune of Rs 10 thousand per local youth employed on the job,” Mr Sarma said.
Touching upon the tea gardens workers, the finance minister said that while the government has decided to provide rice, which is presently provided at the rate of Rs three per kg, free of cost to four lakh families in the tea garden areas and two kgs of sugar per month to the families of the tea garden workers.
The finance minister further said that the government has decided to establish a development corporation for the indigenous Muslims which will take up various programmes aimed at the holistic development of this section of the society, including self-employment activities, provisioning banking linkages etc.
“Once the corporation is formed during the course of the year, I will immediately allocate a sum of Rs 100 crore for taking up various developmental and employment related activities,” the minister added. (UNI)