Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented the state budget for 2020-21, in the assembly on March 6 with no new tax proposals as he announced a slew of welfare schemes ranging from providing subsidized electricity to free bus ride for women and senior citizen.
Presenting his fifth and final budget before the term ends of the government next year, Sarma said new era has dawned in Assam – an era of hope, of aspiration, of development and of a promise of a future that embraces everyone.
“Today, I stand before you in all humility, to proudly state that we have done our utmost to keep that promise. The clarion call given by our Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal for making Assam ‘Videshi Mukt, Durneeti Mukt, Santrashvad Mukt, and Pradushan Mukt’ is now closer to reality than ever before,” he said.
The aggregate expenditure for the 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 280360.29 crore. The budget estimates of 2020-21 showed a receipt of Rs 105245.23 crore under the consolidated fund of the state. Out of this, Rs 91930.80 crore is on revenue account and the remaining Rs 13315.43 crore is under capital account.
The fiscal deficit of the state has reduced to 1.47 per cent of GSDP in 2018-19 as against the FRBM target of 3% of GSDP, the budget statement said.
The major highlight of the budget was the announcement of subsidy on electricity tariff to every consumer of the state. “To significantly mitigate the consequences of tariff revision, our government will provide Rs 300 crore to APDCL for providing tariff relief to the general public. Besides, the state government is also continuing the existing subsidy to around 38 Lakh Domestic-A consumers at prevailing rate of Rs 1.01 per unit for 120 units per month,” Sarma said in the budget.
He also announced Rs 2,000 to each police constable monthly for ration. Financial assistance to labourers for annual free health check-up and hike in salary of front line forest guards in Kaziranga National Park protecting rhinos from poachers. He also announced that development board for indigenous Muslims to be set up. Knowledge of native language to be made mandatory for applying for state government jobs, Sarma said.
Sarma added that Bodo Kachari development council for the people of the community living outside BTAD would be set up. The finance minister announced that the government will set up 200 new schools in Assam to compete with private schools.
For women and senior citizens special free bus (pink bus) service will be launched in Guwahati. The government will provide Rs 1,000 every month to each student in college and university to help pay their hostel dues. Sarma also said that 20,000 girl toppers in Class XII state board exam will get a Scooty each.
For the tea labourers in the state, there were many announcement starting from government giving Rs 50,000 gratuity on the day of retirement of each tea worker in the state.
The finance minister also announced 18 flagship schemes whose implementation will be the topmost priority of the government throughout the year. Besides these, welfare measure under Anna Yojana of the government 51.39 households to get free rice.