Assam Budget 2018-19: Highlights from Himanta Biswa Sarma's e-budget

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 13, 2018 11:41 hrs
Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati: On Monday, Himanta Biswa Sarma presented Assam's budget - a one-of its kind affair involving digital tablets and pendrives.

This made Assam, the second state after Andhra Pradesh, to unveil an e-budget.

"After Andhra Pradesh, Assam has become the second state to have an e-budget, but unlike the other state, Assam budget is available in Google Play Store so that anybody can access it," Sarma was quoted as saying by The Business Line.

Our search for Assam Budget on Google Playstore though did not return the desired result.

Ahead of the budget, Sarma had explained that the budget was going a step beyond the Andhra Pradesh budget by going live on Twitter and Facebook.

Previously, Andhra Pradesh had offered legislators access to tablets, to view the e-budget, but the budget was kept off public domain.

The finance department had called for suggestions from the public regarding the Budget provisions, and more than one thousand people submitted their suggestions, the best of which have been sorted out for incorporation in this year's Budget, the Finance Minister added.

Sarma shared that the conventional paper Budget would be available as well.

Also read:

Union Budget 2018

Highlights from the Rs 2149.04-crore-deficit Assam budget 2018

* Ra 1890 crore set aside for bridge over Brahmaputra connecting Panbazar with North Guwahati

* New educational institutions

Besides establishing new degree colleges, the government also plans to set up ten new law colleges, ten new B.Ed Colleges, nine new women colleges, three new polytechnic and a new medical college.

"Education is the backbone of society. Expansion of educational infrastructure is one of the basic initiative that our government has been taking from the very first day," Sarma said adding that while a new medical college will be established in Karimganj in Barak Valley, 10 new government law colleges will be established at Dhubri, Nalbari, Rangia, Nagaon, Diphu, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Silchar and North Lakhimpur.

"Similarly, 10 new BEd Colleges will also be established at West Karbi Anglong, Bongaigaon, Baksa, Nalbari, Kamrup, Morigaon, Dima Hasao, Sivsagar, Biswanath and at North Lakhimpur districts," he said.

"The three polytechnic will be established at Tingklhong, Majuli and at Hajo followed by nine women colleges at Sonal, Chenga, Batadraba, Jaleswar, Golakganj, Mangaldai, Bilasipara, Hailakandi and at Karimganj," Sarma added.

* Women's health and dignity

An annual stipend of Rs 600 to girls between 12 to 20 years of age from families whose annual income is below Rs 5 lakh to ensure ease of access to disposable sanitary napkins.

The scheme will be linked to their date of birth and payments will be directly transferred to bank accounts and payments will automatically stop once the girl turns 20.

* Geographical Indicator (GI) tag to traditional items of Assam

"Items like traditional jewellery of Assam ..., bell metal craft of Sarthebari, Brass metal craft of Hajo, Eri silk, local liquor (Laopani), 'Komal Chaul' (soft rice), 'Joha Chaul' (aromatic rice), 'Bora Chaul' (Sticky rice), 'Kopou Ful' (a local orchid), and 'Fulam Japi' (decorated Japi) are all indigenous to Assam but are yet to fully realise their potential in the national and international market," Sarma said.

"Increase in export of these items will also boost the economy and increase tourism, directly enhancing the livelihood of the people like farmers and artisans involved in production of these arts and crafts," he said, adding that the government will try to get GI tag to all these items.

Tea garden initiatives

For small tea planters

Waiver of specified land cess on green tea leaves announced.

Also 25% of outstanding dues - principal plus interest - subject to a maximum limit of Rs 25000 will be waived off

For Tea garden sardars

Each line sardar of a tea garden will be given a Rs 3000 smartphone. Move will benefit 20000 tea garden sardars around the state.

* Rs 242.12 crore to provide improved citizen services including solid waste management and street lights

* A sum of Rs 4 crore for Swastha Seva Utsav - an exercise to carry out an assessment of public health institutions in the state to provide quality health care services to the people. The Swastha Seva Utsav will replicate the Gunotsav, a government programme to assess the educational institutions.

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