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Consolidate, ReSTART, Grow: Himanta's mantra

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

2016-17 ASSAM BUDGET

* Fince minister tables Rs 2,880.91 crore deficit budget in House * Focus upon agriculture & rural development, education, health and law & order *‘This is less about figures and money, more about new governce model’

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, July 26: Quoting an Upanishadic verse, Assam Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented the first Budget of the BJP-led government with Rs 2,880.91 crore deficit for the fincial year 2016-17 on the floor of the House on Tuesday.

With a five-year vision of setting up a new model of governce and fincial administration, the Assam budget this fiscal primarily focuses on big bang agriculture and rural development, education, health as well as improvement of the State’s law and order mechanism. The total budget size will be Rs 78,253.36 crore this fiscal, with Rs 29,380.35 crore expenditure under Plan heading and Rs 48,873.01 crore under non-Plan heading.

While estimated State tax revenue in the current fiscal will be Rs 15,634.31 crore, that for non-tax revenue will be Rs 5,846.52 crore. The State’s likely share of Central taxes will be Rs 18,938.27 crore, and it will receive from the Centre Rs 20,246.46 crore as Plan grants and Rs 3,527.35 crore as non-Plan grants in FY17.

The interl debt for Assam is estimated to be at Rs 10,423.26 crore, while the fiscal deficit will be 2.97 percent of the State’s GDP, estimated to be Rs 2,24,641 crore at current price for this fincial year, the Fince minister informed the House.

Taking into account the expenditure of Rs 1,69,621.14 crore under Public Account and Rs 100 crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate expenditure for the year is estimated at Rs 2,47,974.50 crore. “Thus, estimated transactions during the year will result in an estimated surplus of Rs 6,625.36 crore. This, together with the opening deficit if Rs 9,506.27 crore, will lead to a budget deficit of Rs 2,880.91 crore at the end of the fincial year 2016-17,” said Sarma.

“The budget estimates of 2016-17 show a receipt of Rs 77,422.71 crore under the Consolidated Fund of the State. Out of this, Rs 66,179.88 crore is on Revenue Account and the remaining Rs 11,242.83 crore is under Capital Account. After adding the receipt of Rs 1,77,077.16 crore under Public Account and Rs 100 crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate receipts amount to Rs 2,54,599.86 crore. As against this, total expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State in 2016-17 is estimated at Rs 78,253.36 crore of which Rs 62,459.04 crore is on Revenue Acount and Rs 15,794.33 crore is on Capital Account,” said Sarma.

The centerpiece of the budget is ‘Chief Minister’s Samagra Gramya Unyan Yoja (CMSGUY)’, a Rs 30,000 crore mega scheme to double farm income in five years. “The government proposes to take up a mega mission called CMSGUY for five years from 2016-17. The main objective is to double the farm income in unison with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,” adding, “there are 25,425 villages (as per 2011 census) in Assam. The planned investment is about Rs 1.20 crore per revenue village. The total requirement for the mission is Rs 30,000 crore over a period of five years,” said Sarma.

Putting stress on the objectives of this Budget, the State Fince Minister said, “This budget is not receipts and expenditure alone. This is not just about figures and money. This is also about the development agenda which requires new pillars for erecting a new model of governce. This new model of governce is the art and practice of pure politics and clean up public service and not ‘impure politics and corrupt public service’”, adding, “we realize the ‘citizen at the centre’ is core of our governce. Every policy of ours will be citizen-centric and each one is our stakeholder in the governce.”

Sarma said with the closure of Planning Commission, the States were empowered to plan and budget for themselves without any dependence on the Centre. It needs corresponding changes in our State too and such changes should have been started last year itself. “I believe that this challenge will also throw numerous opportunities to innovate, restructure and reorient,” he said, adding, “reversing the trend of wasteful expenditure in the me of welfare schemes which have not led us to growth, development, employment and equity in the State. At this juncture, I am happy to state that our Government has already notified a three-member Review Committee on Planning and Budgeting Process in the State.”

Sarma further said: “‘No Arrogance: Only Governce’ is our code of conduct. Every challenge is an opportunity for us. Innovation and public participation are main ingredients of this government.”

On bringing the Assam Public Expenditure Accountability Act, the Fince Minister asserted: “I propose to bring the Act before the House in due course of time. This would stipulate for a delay in implementation of works beyond a reasoble amount of time, the seniormost secretary shall persolly explain to the Legislative Committee concerned.”

On the border issue, Sarma said, “Border protection is a priority for our government. Our government will also try to ensure that the quality of fencing is at par with the fencing of India-Pakistan border in Gujarat. We shall also make serious efforts to motivate the people living along the border not only in preventing infiltration of foreigners, but also to effectively deal with rcotics and drug trafficking.”

On the recruitment issue, the Fince Minister made it clear that the State government has decided to discontinue the system of holding interviews for recruitment of Grade-III and Grade-IV posts, where persolity assessment is not an absolute requirement. The State government has formulated draft policy for raising reservation for women in government jobs upto 35 percent.

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