[Guwahati, 17th March]: The aim is clear, there is no regret in the purpose. Therefore, when the opposition says that the government is trying to increase the number of beneficiaries in the budget, the message of pulling the poor people through government benefits is given in the state budget. Benefiting from schemes like Arunodaya can increase the number of beneficiaries. But the government is clear that projects like Arunodaya are our main weapon in the fight against poverty. Because social security must be ensured first. Along with this, ration, accommodation, health insurance benefits will also be provided.
Therefore, the Himanta government has declared a kind of war against poverty in the state budget of the financial year 2023-24. But perhaps realizing that it is difficult to eradicate poverty by providing Arunodaya, ration card or health scheme, a huge project of 5000 crore rupees for employment has been announced in the state budget. About two lakh unemployed people have self-employment resources under the massive scheme. Besides, about 30 lakh women in self-help groups have also been provided with financial assistance.
But nothing will happen if the infrastructure is not created. Therefore, the infrastructure development of the state, the development of roads has also received the highest priority in the budget this time. Hence the budget also announced the construction of thousands of km of new roads and eight new flyovers in various parts of the state including Guwahati under the Asam Mala project. Expenditure of the Department of Works exceeds all previous records. The budget also saw an attempt to give a new shape to the public education system by announcing the construction of basic structures of education in the state and the renovation of almost collapsed school buildings, the establishment of new schools and colleges at the secondary level.
Voting is ahead in the whole country. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is urging the party to win as many seats as possible from Assam. But it did not show much reflection in the budget. Therefore, the tradition of gaining popularity by attracting people to the entity project before the election, was not seen in the budget this time. Finance Minister did not announce any unnecessary projects except social security, education, health, infrastructure construction. So the project is not burdened in the state budget.
Rather than that, an attempt to win the image of the common people through development has also been seen in the state budget. Therefore, the Finance Minister has presented the second budget of the Himanta government as it should be. Only two years have passed, three more years ahead. If you sow the seed now, it will bear fruit later. So on the budget pages try to eradicate poverty, find employment, improve skills and of course build infrastructure. The finance minister is seen to be thinking of expansion. Employment schemes have been announced, but no scheme as cheap as yarn blanket distribution can be found in the budget.
However, the Finance Minister has also fulfilled the responsibility of carrying out various developmental projects and social projects like Arunodaya, etc. announced by the government for the construction of roads, bridges, flyovers, medical colleges, engineering colleges, etc. Expenditure allocation on education, health, agriculture etc. has also increased as usual. Announcing the fight against poverty, the Finance Minister said in the budget speech, ‘Four approaches have been adopted to eradicate poverty. Arunodaya, Chief Minister’s Ayushman Assam Yojana, Food Security and Chief Minister’s Awas Yojana.’
Arunodaya scheme will be given to every poor family. 27.5 lakh people will get the benefit. Trying to increase from 1250 rupees to 1400 rupees monthly. Three lakh families in the state will be covered under the Chief Minister’s Ayushman Assam Yojana, who will get free medical treatment up to Rs.5 lakh. Every family having a ration card will get the benefit of this scheme. This state government scheme will act as a complement to the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. Food security of 40 lakh people will be ensured by issuing new ration cards.
The Chief Minister’s Awas Yojana is being launched as a complement to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana with the aim of providing housing to around one lakh people. The Finance Minister has also announced the continuation of the process of waiving women’s small loans as a social security. The government will return the loan to the bank for those women who could not repay even with a loan of up to 25 thousand rupees. Financial assistance has already been provided to indebted women in two phases earlier.
5 crores of rupees spent to fix the basic structure of the education system. The Finance Minister has announced the construction of 500 high school infrastructure. Besides, the government will give one crore rupees to another 500 high schools for smart classes, infrastructure, educational materials etc. One hundred schools will be developed as model schools. Government to open 100 more higher secondary schools in tea gardens. Moreover, the Finance Minister has also announced the continuation of schemes such as bicycles for class 9 students, free textbooks, exemption of hostel fees up to 2000 rupees for graduate and post graduate students, scooty for first class passers in higher secondary.
Moreover, the budget has also announced the establishment of seven polytechnics to be built in Shivsagar College, Kokrajhar Government College, Bongaigaon College, North Lakhimpur College, Guwahati’s Sandikoi College, Nagaon College and Silchar’s Gurucharan College to university level by enacting legislation. The finance minister also emphasized on the improvement of health services. The Budget announced the launch of ‘Assam Urban Health Campaign’ for urban areas. Cluster projects have been announced for the tea tribes, but overall the development of tribal communities is envisaged. So the state budget is really development-oriented this time. The finance minister has thought about the development of the nation and community. Finance Minister has also kept climate change in mind. Hence, for the first time, a “green budget” has been presented without taking initiatives to curb carbon emissions.