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Himanta avoids taxes, invokes ‘Resurgent Assam’

Rs 2,349.79-crore deficit budget for 2017-18 tabled in Assembly


Guwahati, Feb 7: Thematically terming it as ‘Resurgent Assam’ in line with the BJP-led State government’s vision document, Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday tabled in the Assembly a Rs 2,349.79-crore deficit budget free from any fresh tax proposals for the fiscal 2017-18.

While the aggregate receipts have been estimated at Rs 2,47,412. 67 crore, the aggregate expenditure has been pegged at Rs 2,47,779.86 crore. 

“The Budget estimates show a receipt of Rs 84,732.16 crore under the Consolidated Fund of State, of which Rs 70,719.61 crore is on revenue account and the remaining Rs 14,012.55 crore is under capital account,” said Sarma while presenting the budget. He said the total expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of State in 2017-18 is estimated at Rs 85,922.69 crore.

By the theme ‘Resurgent Assam’, Sarma explained that this budget is set to ensure ‘reforms, consolidate and strengthen public fincial magement; boost public infrastructure, favour young-women-divyang welfare; rural development and employment generation; fincial inclusion; cultural and economic reissance centering on history and heritage of Assam’ and other initiatives.

Speaking about the four pillars of New Model of Governce — persol integrity, political Inclusivity, government legitimacy and people’s participation — Sarma said, “Our government is to serve the 3.25 crore people of Assam. Our endeavour is to mitigate their plight and take them to newer heights of development.” 

Unlike previous budgets, this Budget is not only free from new tax proposals, it has even proposed a number of tax exemptions, Sarma pointed out.  “We’ll make all sincere efforts involving everyone in the true spirit of Team Assam, so that the fruits of the programmes announced in the Budget reach the common people,” he said.

In a first, the government has merged the Plan and non-Plan heads to end discrimition in the budgeting of salaries of Muster Roll and Work Charge employees.

To drive the fincial inclusion of tea garden workers, Sarma said they would be paid Rs 5,000 each. “Initially Rs 2,500 will be paid to each tea garden worker who has opened bank accounts and subsequently another Rs 2,500 would be added,” he said. The budget also proposed to make one-time payment of Rs 12,000 to each pregnt woman tea garden worker.

To boost tourism, the Fince minister proposed to exempt hotels and lodging houses, including the home stays, from luxury tax. (With IANS input)