In a shift from the budget preparation process, Assam government has started a consultation-cum-interaction programme with MLAs to make the state budget 2017-18 more inclusive and public interest oriented.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal urged the MLAs to study their constituencies for identifying resources, and to come up with innovative schemes to fulfil people’s expectations.

Stating that MLAs are not mere individuals but an institution representing their constituencies, Sonowal urged them to act as watchdogs in ensuring effective role of government officials in execution of schemes. He also asked MLAs to take up schemes on priority basis to offer maximum benefits to people.

The chief minister further advised MLAs to interact with the local intelligentsia and people of their constituencies to get a pulse on their expectations as well as make them feel as an integral part of the government machinery.

Sonowal also underlined his government’s commitment in streamlining the administrative machinery and stressed on collective responsibility of elected representatives in implementing welfare schemes.

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while addressing the MLAs, asked them to prepare a list of proposed projects and submit the same to the government.

Sarma further reiterated the government’s commitment in implementing the schemes proposed in the budget and sought the MLAs’ cooperation for preparing a pragmatic budget for the state.

“As finance minister, I am trying to prepare a strong budget. The tentative date for tabling the budget is February 7,” he said.

Sarma further informed that the state revenue has increased 14 per cent this year compared to last year.

The new approach, which was started on December 27 with the consultation with MLAs of the BJP, will continue with similar interactive sessions with MLAs of other political parties as per schedule prepared by the finance department.

The exercise is aimed at soliciting suggestions from elected representatives on ways to increase internal revenue, implementation of budget proposals and identifying new proposals for incorporation in proposed budget, identification of schemes marked by wasteful expenditure and steps for their discontinuation, increasing investment in large capital works, enhancing efficiency of execution of projects, and innovative and signature projects that can be taken up in the next budget.

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