February 7, 2017 7:13:29 pm
The BJP-led government in Assam placed its first full budget in the state assembly with state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma putting maximum focus on farmers, youth, women, as also on infrastructure and rural development in it. The government also announced a new legislation to deduct a portion of salary of government employees who failed to take care of their elderly parents.
Announcements in the budget – which showed an overall deficit of Rs 2349.79 crore – included spending nearly Rs 1,000 crore for educational institutions, Rs 287 crore for tea plantation labourers who receive wages through bank accounts for six continuous months, zero interest on crop loans and Rs 65 crore cash incentives to farmers who activate their Kishan Credit Cards, two-wheelers to 1000 girl students, converting 1000 wooden bridges to RCC, among others.
Sarma in his budget also proposed opening three new engineering and two new medical colleges, a new cultural university, five model degree colleges, six new planetariums, 23 district science centres, 219 Aryabhatta Science Centres, a training and research centre for first-generation tea growers and two more bridges on the Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
Eggs twice a week in mid-day meal
The finance minister also announced providing eggs twice a week in the mid-day meal scheme which would cover 42.61 lakh children in lower primary and upper primary schools across Assam. Stating that it would cost about Rs 130 crore per year, minister Sarma said it would not only improve nutrition status of children but also create local demand for eggs. He also proposed providing cooking gas to every school for preparing mid-day meal in order to do away with use of firewood.
In order to drive the financial inclusion of tea garden workers further, Sarma said each tea garden worker who received wages through their bank accounts for six continuous months would be given an incentive of Rs 5000 each. While over 6.50 lakh tea garden workers have opened bank accounts in the past two months, this incentive would cost the state Rs 287 crore in 2016-17, he said.
The BJP-led government also proposed to bring about a new law that would deal with government employees who failed to take care of their elderly parents. “Employees working in the government, state PSUs and companies will be expected to take care of their respective elderly parents in a desirable manner. In case of non-compliance, the proposed legislation would mandate that a certain portion of the salary of such employees would be deducted to be given to their respective parents,” finance minister Sarma said.
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