Monday, July 11, 2011


Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the finance portfolio, today presented a populist Budget with several new schemes and tax proposals. As he announced earlier, the chief minister waived off a tax of Rs 14 on LPG cylinders to give the much needed respite to the common men. His Rs 1542.71 cr deficit Budget also proposed to hike taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. Keeping the Congress manifesto promises, Gogoi made several new announcements for welfare of the people. In keeping with his pre-election promises, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday presented a populist budget with no new tax proposals on essential items. Gogoi presented the Budget soon after the Question Hour on the first day of the 10-day Budget session. Presenting the Rs 1542.71 crore deficit budget for the next 8 months, Gogoi spoke about the improvement of the state’s financial position. He announced a slew of new schemes for the welfare of various communities. In his Budget, the chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced to set up Assam Employment Generation Corporation to facilitate self-employment of educated unemployed and a Skill Development Initiative Society to assist vocational training providers and new it is in all uncovered blocks. His budget also has a proposal to set up an Assam State Civil Supplies Corporation. Gogoi said that the government will replace APL/BPL cards by bio-metric ration cards. The govt also has a proposal for Reticulated LPG gas bank in all multistoried apartments in Guwahati. On the internal security, he said that 12 new police stations and 10 Out Posts will be opened in the next year besides opening a Counter-insurgency Jungle Warfare school, 15 Fire stations and one regional forensic laboratory. The Budget also proposes to install CCTVs in jails. It also proposes to formulate a State Litigation Policy. For the welfare of the Scheduled Caste people, an SC Devp Council will be set up while a separate directorate for OBC will also be created. The CM also announced a special package for the Barak Valley. Bringing good news for those seeking to open a career in teaching, the Budge announced to recruit 40,000 teachers on both regular and contractual basis. However, the govt said that no further provincialisation of schools would be done. It also made it clear that Plus 2 will be delinked from colleges from next academic year. There are also proposals for opening of 12 new Govt colleges, 21 new polytechnics and upgrading the Cotton College to a non-affiliated University. For the Sportspersons, there are good news. The scholarship for young players has been enhanced while a State Youth Development Council will be set up. The Govt also announced to give preference to NCC and Scout&Guide cadets in govt jobs. Under the 13th Planning Commission, Rs 5 crore has been sanctioned for Majuli Sattra preservation. The CM announced to set up a State central library in Guwahati. The artist and literary pension have also been increased. Ion the health sector, the Budget proposed to create an Assam Arogya Nidhi with 6 cr Corpus fund for poor patients. Beside, it proposed Rs 22 cr for upgrading Kamrup Civil to super speciality hospital and opening of a special care home for HIV children and a new Medical College at Nagaon in PPP mode. The Budget also announced a new AYUSH directorate, an Assam Medical Development Corporation to streamline construction, maintenance, procurement and distribution activities and upgrading MMC hospital to Associate Hospital of Srimanta Sankardeva University, Gogoi, who hasd given women and child welfare top priority in his last term, continued to do so in the Budget too. He announced to open a Women Entrepreneur Development Council for empowering women, opening Women’s Club in each block, Women Development authority to monitor and guide women empowerment programmes, Child Development Council and state commission for children, and a new programme Sabala for empowering adolescent girls. He also announced to hike the salary of anganwadi workers. A Senior Citizens Council was also announced. To boost the agriculture sector, he announced a Farmers Council and an Agricultural Commission to advise govt on appropriate technology and other technical issues. He announced Land Reclamation Project to be launched at Dibrugarh, Sibsagar and Guwahati. As he announced two days ago, the CM also proposed a Water Commission to advise govt on management of water resources. He announced Bypasses in Silchar, Tinsukia, Chabua, Makum and N Lakhimpur and an alternate route to Silchar from Guwahati. Mentioning about the power crisis, he said that presently, the state has only 800 MW against a peak hour demand of 1100 MW. He hoped that with the commissioning of some new projects, the scenario will improve soon. Gogoi said that the state would get 208 MW from Lower Subansiri Hydel Project once it is commissioned. To meet the power shortage, he announced to start construction of Lowr Kopilii Hydel Project. In the industry sector, he announced to open Tea Park, Jute Park, Banan park, Textile Park, Food Processing farm, Pharmaceutical Hub, Agri Hub, Agri processing zone and chemical zone. To expedite the Gas Cracker Project, the govt also proposes to release Rs 20 crore to it. The chief minister also has proposals for science and technology sector too. He announced to open a Science and Technology University in the state and a Science City in Guwahati. On the transport sector, he announced that CNG taxis will start operation in Guwahati soon. He also announced to construct Assam Bhawans at Bangalore, Kolkata, Vellore and Chennai while renovate and expand the existing Assam Bhawans at Shillong, Delhi and Mumbai. Meanwhile, to counter the negative publicity by the private TV channels, the government proposed to launch a state-run Cable/Satelite TV channel and Community Radio besides opening a Mass Communication and Printing Institute. In order to face and emergency situation during natural disasters, an Earthquake Risk Mitigation Centre under NIDM will also be opened in the state. Under fire for its land policy, the government announced to set up a Rehabilitation authority for rehabilitation of erosion-hit families also setting up a Land bank for preservation of future use of govt land. The government made several tax proposals in the budget. The most important was the proposal to waive off Rs 14 cess on LPG cylinders. The step was taken to provide relief to the common people aftr the recent hike of LPG cylinder price by Rs 50. The Budget also announced to increase the rate of VAT on tobacco and tobacco products and alcohol products. The number of new proposals decreased compared to the previous budgets as a means to reduce the deficit amount.


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