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Budget to boost infrastructure, economic growth: Khandu

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Itagar, Feb 1: Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has hailed the Union Budget 2017 as one of the best and inclusive till date that will particularly boost infrastructural and economical growth of the country including the North East states.

Khandu appreciated the visiory leadership of Prime Minister rendra Modi and Fince Minister Arun Jaitley for advancing the budget presentation to February 1 to eble the Parliament to avoid a Vote on Account and pass a single Appropriation Bill for 2017-18, before the close of the current fincial year and departments to implement schemes and projects right from the start of the next fincial year. Another significant step, which he termed as historic, is the merger of the Railways Budget with the General Budget. This, he said, would facilitate multi modal transport planning between railways, highways and inland waterways. “The most significant change brought by the Fince Minister in the Union Budget, however, is doing away with the plan and non-plan classification of expenditure,” the chief minister stated.

Expressing optimism that North East in general and Aruchal Pradesh in particular will surely benefit from some of the announcements, one of them being allocation of a whopping amount of Rs 19,000 crores for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yoja (PMGSY) for this fiscal. Together with the contribution of states, an amount of Rs 27,000 crores would be spent on PMGSY in 2017-18. “To accelerate development in our state, connectivity is of utmost importance. Enhanced budgetary allocation for PMGSY as well as the increased allocation of Rs 64,900 crores from Rs 57,976 crores last year for highways is a welcome one,” Khandu pointed out. He also hailed the increased allocation for Scheduled Tribes to Rs 31,920 crores and for Minority Affairs to Rs 4,195 crores. Other salient features of the Budget 2017 that Khandu said would prove path-breaking are focus on MGNREGA, agriculture, railway infrastructure, air-connectivity to two tier cities, tourism and enhanced allocation for the poor and underprivileged and the Sports Ministry.

Khandu specifically hailed the Central Government’s determition to curb corruption and black money hoarding besides cleansing the mece of political funding. As per the new announcements the maximum amount of cash dotion for a political party will be Rs. 2,000 from any one source by cheque or digital mode only. “The Budget has also barred cash transactions above Rs 3 lakh and slashed Income Tax rates. The Government is also moving to abolish the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), while FDI is getting a big makeover,” Khandu observed and asserted that the Budget 2017 has covered all aspects with minute details that will usher in a new age of development.

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Ankur Kalita