Assam govt withdraws austerity measures taken due to COVID-19

Assam government on September 12 withdrew most of the austerity measures announced in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also maintaining that the state’s finances are in a ‘comfortable position’ now.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “We are relaxing the austerity measures to ensure that the development works continue. Some measures will, however, remain in place.”

Curbs on MLA Local Area Development Fund and approval from Finance department for new schemes, among others, have been lifted.

However, a few measures, like ban on purchase of new vehicles, holding of conference in five-star hotels, foreign tours, travel by executive class – would, continue, he added.

The Assam government had announced a series of austerity measures on April 29 in view of the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The minister further claimed that the state’s finances were in a better position than anticipated at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are in a comfortable position, maybe not to spend left and right, but to at least go forward with development works,” he said.

Sarma added that the Centre’s announcement of releasing its committed dues to the states have ensured this positive development in the state’s financial health.

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