GUWAHATI: Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented a Rs 1193.04-crore-deficit and please-all Budget for the year 2019-20 in the State Assembly on Wednesday. The Budget, without any fresh tax imposed, has something for every section of society in the form of freebies, exemptions, subsidies and other sops.
Placing the Budget in the House, Sarma said: “When a State transforms, it needs both political will and financial resources. We could make strides in the past two-and-a-half years by virtue of our political will. However, on the financial front, we need to gear up a little more. The previous governments in the State hadn’t given much thrust on financial resources vis-à-vis budgetary allocations, leading to the piling up of committed liabilities. However, we’ve taken it seriously. Our stress is on revenue generation. The result is that in fiscal 2016-17, our revenue collection was up by 16.5 per cent. The increase in revenue collection was 14.9 per cent in fiscal 2018-19 even after the implementation of GST. This is not all. We’ve met most of the commitments made in the Budget. Some are under progress.”
The Budget promises free-of-cost sugar (2 kg per month) and free-of-cost rice for tea garden workers; rice at Re 1 a kg for the poor; free-of-cost one tola (10 gm) gold for families going to conduct marriage of girls; free-of-cost mess fees for students of government and provincialized universities and colleges staying in hostels among others. The Budget has also promised subsidies for education loans; financial assistance for women being widowed before 45 years of age; widow pension till the age of 60 after which they will have to be shifted to old-age pension; and a development corporation for the indigenous Muslims of Assam among others.
According to the Finance Minister, the estimated fund inflow is Rs 98,339 crore against an outflow of Rs 99,819 crore. Sarma said that 26.98 per cent of the financial inflow is from the State’s own resources. The rest of the inflow is from the Centre and other resources, he added.
The Budget proposals for a few major departments are – Rs 15,217 crore for Education; Rs 6,684 crore for Health and Family Welfare; Rs 6,269 crore for PWD (Roads); Rs 6,306 crore for Home and Political Department; Rs 6,032 crore for Panchayat and Rural Development; Rs 4,212 crore for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes; Rs 218 crore for Tourism; Rs 6,332 crore for Transform and Planning; Rs 2,363 crore for Social Welfare; Rs 1,985 crore for Revenue and Disaster Management; Rs 2,274 crore of Public Health Engineering; Rs 706 crore for Guwahati Development; Rs 1,066 crore for Water Resources; and Rs 1,877 crore for Power among others.
Where rupee comes from
* State tax revenue 18.30%
* Non-tax revenue 8.68%
* Share of central tax 34.95%
* Centrally-sponsored schemes 18.49%
* Finance Commission Grant 2.48%
* Other transfer and grant 1.65%
* Public debt 14.38%
* Recoveries of loan and advance 1.07%
Where rupee goes to
* General service 28%
* Social service 40%
* Economic service 27%
* Grant-in-aid 1%
* Public debt 4%
* 53 lakh families to get rice at Re 1 per kg.
* Families with annual income of Rs 5 lakh or less to get one tola (10 gm) gold for marriage of girl.
* Exemption of college admission fees for families with annual income of Rs 2 lakh or less.
* A monthly subsidy of Rs 700 per month per student for students staying in hostels of government and provincialized colleges and universities.
* Battery-operated scooty for girls passing HS exams in first division or above.
* Government to deposit subsidy of Rs 50,000 to each education loan account.
* Free-of-cost sugar (two kg per month) and free-of-cost rice to tea garden families.
* Construction of 1,000-km quality highway in next three years.
* Bringing ICU package, trauma care and bone marrow transplant under Atal Amrit Abhiyan.
* Rs 5 crore for each of the model villages.
* Plantation on either side of 1,000 km highways.
* Construction of 1,000 houses in phase 1 of police housing scheme.
* Keeping the levy on green tea leaves in abeyance for the next three years.
* Raising of the threshold limit for GST registration up to Rs 40 lakh.
* Scheme to support Assamese diaspora living in various cities of the country.
* Construction of namghars in cities with sizeable Assamese diaspora and also celebration of festivals in these cities. Rs 10 crore earmarked for this.
* Incentives to technicians and artistes of mobile theatre. Rs. 5 crore earmarked for the purpose.
* One-time cash incentive of Rs. 50,000 each to 1,000 sporting and art personalities.
* One-time amnesty for owners of residential and commercial buildings In Guwahati which were constructed in violation of building bye-laws of GMDA.
* Scheme to take Sri Sri Batadrava Than to its deserved place in the annals of spiritual destinations in India.
* Providing smart phones to each of 8000+ Gaon Burahs.
* A special package for ensuring the cultural identity of Majuli.
* Skill training to 50,000 youth.
* Rs 77 crore or development of talent pool.
* Relief packages for boatmen, restaurant owners and others affected by the construction of Dhola-Sadia and Bogibeel Bridges.
* A new district to be carved out of Dima Hasao district this year.
* Plan to create a Beneficiaries Data Hub.
* A development corporation for Indigenous Muslims.
* Rs. 1000 crore for BTC as special grant for a period of three years.
* A special grant of Rs. 10 crore for each of 26 KAAC constituencies.
* Cashless health assurance scheme for government employees from this year.
* Student studying in Classes IX and X will have to take Assamese subject as Modern Indian Language (MIL) or as an elective subject, barring the Sixth Schedule areas and the Barak Valley.