GUWAHATI: In a significant move for girl education, the Assam government introduced a number of women-centric schemes on Monday in its Rs 2.9 lakh crore budget for 2024-25.
Under these schemes, financial assistance will be provided to uplift 10 lakh girls to post-graduation level to eradicate child marriage.
In a year when the country will go to the polls to elect the next central government, Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog provided a relief to the common citizens by not imposing any new tax.
In a bid to include every household in the government job's network, the Assam finance minister proposed a new law for alloting five per cent weightage in total marks of a candidate applying in Grade-3 and Grade-4 posts if his or her family does not have anyone working in government or PSU firm.
She estimated an aggregate budget receipts of Rs 2,90,155.65 crore in 2024-25 against a proposed expenditure of Rs 2,88,560.71 crore, culminating in an estimated surplus of Rs 1,594.94 crore.
"This, together with the opening deficit of Rs 2,369.41 crore will lead to a Budget deficit of Rs 774.47 crore at the end of the financial year 2024-25," Ajanta Neog said.
She talked about the size of the state economy by saying that the GSDP is estimated to reach Rs 6.43 lakh crore during the next financial year as against Rs 5.7 lakh crore (advanced estimate) in 2023-24.
While announcing a new flagship scheme Mukhya Mantri Nijut Moina (MMNM), Neog in her budget speech stated that as many as 10 lakh girls will be supported with financial grants as admission incentive to continue to pursue their education to higher secondary, graduation and post-graduation studies.
She went on to say that this move is aimed at providing an impetus to the government's mission to eradicate child marriages once and for all.
Besides punitive and regulatory measures, she added that the girl child needs to be empowered so that they can decide when to marry.
However, Neog informed that only those students who are enrolled in any government institute and are unmarried will be eligible for this benefit.
Notably, Rs 10,000 will be provided as an admission incentive to girl students for joining Class 11, Rs 12,500 for first year graduation and Rs 15,000 for the previous year of post-graduation, and these will be in addition to the existing benefits like free admission and providing scooty.
"I propose to set apart Rs 240 crore towards this scheme in this budget," Neog added.