GUWAHATI, March 12 - Presenting the State Budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today announced eighteen flagship schemes of the government for the year whose “effective implementation will be the collective responsibility of the government” and for which there will be no “fund constraints”.
Some of these schemes have been retained from last year’s eighteen flagship schemes called the ‘Ashtadash Mukutar Unnoyonee Mala’.
Among the new schemes is a scholarship scheme for girl children belonging to the minority community. Annual scholarship of Rs 2,000, Rs 4,000, Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 would be provided to girl students studying in Class 10, 11-12, graduation and post graduation respectively. He also announced a scholarship scheme that proposes to support all girls belonging to minority community.
To unclog the much needed credit supply to farmers, the government has announced a one-time assistance for farmers who have taken bank loans. Under the scheme, the government will deposit 25 per cent of outstanding dues – subject to a maximum limit of Rs 25,000 – in each loan account.
The government has also conceived the Axom Adarxo Gram Yojana – on the lines of Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana – under which two model villages will be created in every constituency over the next three years. The government will provide Rs 5 crore to each village for the purpose.
Announcing universalization of old age pension, the Finance Minister said each elderly citizen will be entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 250 per month. An estimated 16 lakh such elderly persons are expected to be benefitted by the scheme.
To boost the morale of the personnel involved in weeding out corruption, the government also proposed an additional 15 per cent of the basic salary as financial incentive over and above their regular salary to constables and officers up to SP rank in the CID, Vigilance & Anti-Corruption, CM’s Special Vigilance Cell and BIEO.
Under a new scheme Mukhya Mantri Adarxa Deep Yojana, each domestic consumer family will be given four LED bulbs of 9 watts. The scheme will cover an estimated 52 lakh households.
To monitor climate change related matters and to coordinate mitigating efforts, the government also proposed an Assam Climate Change Management Society with a seed money of Rs 5 crore.
The government has also decided that unmarried daughters of pensioners will be eligible to avail of the pension in event of a pensioner’s death.
A monthly stipend of Rs 600 will be given to girls in age group 12-20 – whose family income is less than Rs 5 lakh annually – for purchasing sanitary napkins. The government has also decided to increase the salary allowances of Anganwadi and Asha workers by Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 respectively. Financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh will be provided to families of staff of National Flagship Schemes who die in harness. Daily wages of home guards have been hiked from Rs 250 to Rs 300.
Social media cells will be created in each department to bring the government closer to the people.
On the lines of Gunotsav, Sarma announced the Swastha Sewa Utsav to carry out a similar assessment of the public health institutions.
The budget also proposed a number of new institutions – new medical college in Karimganj, ten new government law colleges and as many B.Ed colleges, polytechnics in Tingkhong, Majuli and Hajo, nine new women colleges in minority dominated areas, a State Labour Training and Research Institute to train labour welfare officers, a horticulture college at Dima Hasao and a Sports University at Chabua.
Two-wheelers will be provided to top 5,000 girl students who pass higher secondary examination, 2018.
To galvanize the MSME activities involving bamboo as raw material, the government will set up Assam Bamboo Experience Centres at Assam Bhavans/ Houses and in various cities of the country, besides Guwahati and the district headquarters in the State. The government will also make efforts for GI status to items like traditional Assamese jewellery, blacksmith of Koronga, bell metal craft of Sarthebari, brass metal craft of Hajo, Endi sil, local liquor (laopani, Saaj), Komal Chaul, Joha Chaul, Bora Chaul, Kekowa Boa Rice, local orchid (kopou phul) and decorative japi to realize their potential in national and global market.
The upper age limit for entry into Grade III and Grade IV jobs have been increased from 43 to 44 years. Application fee for all jobs under these two categories have been abolished.
A new journalist insurance scheme has been also proposed in the budget.
A Tech Village will be set up in the State on pilot basis which will have state-of-the-art technological solutions like Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, etc., while a state-of-the-art incubation centre will be set up at Ambari in Guwahati towards making the city a start-up hub.
Extending the City Infrastructure Development Fund scheme, the government this year has focused on the middle-tier towns. Eight towns of the State – Bongaigaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur, Karimganj, Goalpara, Sivasagar, Barpeta and Golaghat will be given Rs 100 crore each over the next three years for bridging the critical infrastructural deficiencies.