BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 26: The 2016-17 Assam budget presented by State Fince minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the House on Tuesday left the Opposition cold, with several members commenting that it lacks the vision for ‘parivartan’ or change that the BJP had promised to the people of the State. However, the BJP-alliance government stoutly defended its first budget, saying that it was drawn up after due consultations with all stakeholders, and it would definitely bring about changes in all spheres in the State.
Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal, while talking to reporters, said the Budget presented on the floor of the Assembly, has been prepared in consultation with trade unions, economists, members of the Opposition as well as suggestions from common people. “It is a participatory budget wherein views and opinions of all sections of people have been incorporated to make it all-encompassing,” he said. Sonowal said the budget goes with the motto ‘sabka saath, saabka vikas’ as it takes along with it all sections of people in the process of building up a New Assam and thereby paving the way for bringing about a very positive change to the State. “I am sanguine that the budget will be able to bring about desired level of development by ushering changes in different sectors in the days ahead,” he added.
The BJP’s alliance partner AGP’s Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said, “The Fince minister has tried to do something new with the Budget and it is a welcome move. But only time will reveal the effectiveness of the proposals/schemes announced in the Budget,” adding, “the announcement of ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for each family of the martyrs of Assam Agitation and job for a member of each of these families are welcome steps taken by the Fince minister in this Budget.”
In his statement, the Opposition Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said, “The budget is silent on employment generation issue, while no schemes for women were announced in it. Overall, it’s a long-term budget.”
Saikia further said the budget has mentioned nothing about the development of infrastructure in the newly announced districts of the State. Congress MLA Rakibul Hussain said the budget doesn’t reflect the BJP’s slogan ‘sabka saath, sabka vikash’.