ANI Photo | Assam finance minister tables budget 2023-24 with focus on employment, education, housing

Assam’s first woman finance minister, Ajanta Neog, presented the annual state budget for the financial year 2023-24 in the Assam legislative assembly on March 16.

Finance minister Neog presented a budget with an aggregate expenditure estimated at Rs 3.21 Lakh crore for the year.

Neog announced that Assam’s GDP estimates will grow to Rs 5.5 lakh crore in 2023-24 from Rs 3.93 lakh crore in 2021-22. Budget deficit estimates are pegged at Rs 935.23 crore at the end of the year 2023-24.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated on Twitter that this budget will fulfil the aspirations of Assam.

“Assam’s first budget of #AmritKaal will fulfil the aspirations of a New Assam & prioritise the dreams of the neediest sections of society. This budget will strengthen the foundations of our developmental trajectory & will make our State a major contributor to national growth,” Assam CM tweeted.

Neog announced the launch of the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojana scheme. “Housing for all is a dream of PM Narendra Modi and to supplement his efforts, our government is launching Mukhya Mantri Awaas Yojana, with the assistance of a similar amount as of PMAY. In the year 2023-24, 1 lakh beneficiaries will be covered under this scheme, and I am allocating Rs 800 crore towards this,” the Assam finance minister said.

She proposed Rs 15,102 crore in total, under various heads for the development of Infrastructure in the form of roads and buildings under public works department. She proposed to implement a scheme to promote micro-entrepreneurs for creating self-employment opportunities among the unemployed youths belonging to BPL families and low-income households. A total of Rs 1,000 crore was allocated for FY24 under the ‘Mukhya Mantri Sva-Niyojan Mission’ for creating self-employment.

“The total investment under this initiative will be Rs 5000 crore over the next three years with the potential to transform over two lakh unemployed youths into job creators. I am allocating Rs 1000 cr in this budget,” Ajanta Neog said.

Neog also announced the launch of the Mukhya Mantri Ayushman Asom Yojana. In this regard, she said: “In order to give 100% coverage to the NFSA beneficiaries, our government is launching Mukhya Mantri Ayushman Asom Yojana. It will enable 27 lakh additional families of the state to avail of Rs 5 lakh worth of cashless treatment, making it the biggest health insurance scheme in the country. I am allocating Rs 135 crore for this scheme”.

The Assam finance minister also said that the Government of Assam in its cabinet meeting held on December 7, 2022 has taken a decision to select 40 lakh new beneficiaries under NFSA and new ration cards will be issued accordingly. “Necessary communication has already been made by the government to the respective districts in this regard and the process of selection has already started. I am earmarking Rs 404.94 crore in the budget,” Ajanta Neog said.

Talking about one lakh jobs, the Assam finance minister said: “Our government already provided employment to about 42,000 youth across various departments. Further, with the completion of two years of our government, the recruitment of another 40,000 candidates will be completed by May 10. Remaining, about 18,000 are at various stages of recruitment and this will also be completed very soon”.

Rs 500 crore have been allotted for Assam Micro-Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme.

The minister also announced plans to upgrade the building infrastructure of around 500 high schools with Rs 5 crore per school. “Rs 1 crore will be provided to 500 high Schools for furniture, smart classrooms, teaching-learning materials and sports infrastructure. Out of the target of 500 schools, 400 existing schools will be renovated and another 100 new schools will be built with state-of-the-art infrastructure as model schools. I am earmarking Rs 2500 crore for this in the budget,” finance minister Neog said.

She also stated that the government is committed to ending the practice of child marriage by the year 2026 by launching a mission for the prevention of child marriage.

“To sustain the efforts, our government is committed to launching this state mission with a target of making Assam free of incidents of child marriage by the end of the year 2026,” she said.

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