GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has claimed that the BJP-led Government in Dispur has been successful in fulfilling 80% promises made in the annual State budgets since 2016. He asserted that the trend would continue for the current budget tabled in the Assembly recently.
Participating in the general discussion of the Budget for the year 2021-22, the Chief Minister informed the Assembly on Tuesday that Assam is one of the few States in the country which has brought out ATRs (Action-Taken Reports) on Budget for the last five years.
Stating that the State has launched 59 flagship schemes from 2017 to 2021, he added that the execution is in full swing for all these schemes. The Chief Minister added, "In 2017, the State's total revenue collection was just Rs 5,000 crore. The tax-collection figure touched Rs 10,939 crore in 2020. The State could collect excise revenue to the tune of Rs 2,200 crore in 2020.
"During the erstwhile Congress regime, the annual excise-revenue collection was just Rs 450 crore. In between 2001 and 2015, the State could not complete 90% works as promised in the annual budgets.
"Now we are doing everything in a planned and systematic manner. The current budget has been prepared in such a way that development work can continue for the next five years," said Sarma in the Assembly.
Justifying the beneficiary schemes, the Chief Minister said that unlike the previous regimes the present government is transferring money to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. He added, "It is better to transfer money to beneficiaries instead of giving them 'dhoti, kombal and xuta' (as was done by the past governments)."
Responding to the criticism of the Opposition that the State is running on loans and debts, the Chief Minister said that it is the Centre which determines the quantum of loans that can be taken from markets by the States. He added that the States can take loans up to 28.5% of their GDP; and Assam has so far taken 22% loan of its GDP.
Sarma also justified taking loans from the market to create infrastructures for attracting investments and industries. He also said that his government is focusing on village-centric development to make Assam self-sufficient in all fields. "If each one of us starts producing many things locally, prices of such items will automatically decline," he added.
The Chief Minister further said that the culture of 'bandh', 'dharna' and 'andolon' will not bring about development in Assam.
He also stated that population explosion is one the prime reasons for the State's backwardness. "While the birth rates in Dibrugarh and Sivasagar are declining, it is the opposite in many districts of lower and central Assam. We must accept the reality and act together to solve this problem," asserted Sarma.