(The writer is a jourlist and a public policy enthusiast. He can be reached at email@example.com
Three most significant features are evident in the Assam Budget that was tabled by State Fince Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma in the State Legislative Assembly on March 12.
First among them is that there is no big proposal for direct taxes in this budget. The reason behind this is that increasing tax in the budget attracts people’s attention. Price of a commodity has direct relation with the increase or decrease in taxes. The government machinery has already been the reason for price rise instead of controlling it. So, instead of increasing the tax once in the budget, if they increase the tax in small installments then it will not catch people’s attention. Even if it catches people’s attention, people cannot be organized easily. This technique may give relaxation to the government from people’s anger for the time being, but this is bad, anti-people tactic. This is cheating the people.
Second significant feature is that the budget has put much importance to the construction sector. By establishing institutions in large numbers it is as if the government is trying to bring revolution in the health and education sectors.
It is true that more is the number of educatiol institutions that are established, the more our State will progress in the educatiol sector. More is the number of hospitals that are established, the more healthcare sector will progress. But remember, how many of the educatiol institutes and hospitals, established since Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma became minister for the first time in the previous Congress government, have been to the service of the public? In Guwahati Medical College and Hospital alone, have the buildings built and instruments bought been used totally?
There has been an allegation that the construction of several new institutions, including Jorhat Medical College, has been faulty because of the commission involved in the construction of those institutions. So, whether it is ‘development’ or something else that is behind such construction, should be investigated or researched upon.
Third significant feature is that the Fince Minister has proposed offering direct fincial aid to people of different classes. There is no doubt that it is aimed at the upcoming panchayat polls and even general elections.
But by such measures, the BJP-led government is following the same path as Congress had followed, and is trying to hoodwink the general public. Ironically, the BJP had criticized the Congress for the same thing when they were in opposition.
It is a fact that the BJP led goverments both at Delhi and Dispur have taken some commendable steps by breaking the Congress-created culture at both the Centre and in the State. But on the question of ‘development’, the BJP government has made itself similar to that of the Congress government by following the latter’s path.
While Prime Minister rendra Modi and his brigade are trying their best to remove the Congress’ legacy from Indian politics and administrative system, the BJP-led government in Assam has let them down by following the steps of the Congress.