Finance Minister

Guwahati, July 17: For the first time in the history of Assam as a woman Finance Minister had presented the annual state budget in the assembly.

Assam’s first female Finance Minister Ajanta Neog on Friday presented a Rs 566 crore deficit state budget for 2021-22 in the assembly, with no new tax proposals.

Presenting the first budget of the second BJP-led Assam government, Ajanta Neog announced several welfare schemes for children, women, students, tea tribes in her budget speech.

“Being the first women Finance Minister, I am greatly honoured for being bestowed the August task of presenting the State’s Budget with the heart of a mother filled with love and affection. Before I proceed further, I, on behalf of the people of our state would like to offer our best wishes to our daughter, Lovlina Borgohain who is part of Indian Contingent, and is proceeding to Tokyo to participate in the upcoming Olympics,” Ajanta Neog said in her budget speech.

The budget has proposed several welfare promises include assistance to distressed women borrowers for microfinance loans, employment to 1 lakh youths, relief to those who have lost their family members to COVID-19, providing smartphones to Class 9 and 10 students of government to address the digital divide and an increase in the assistance amount of Orunodoi scheme, blue revolution, etc.

“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, educational institutions were closed during the lockdown period. During this period, online education is being imparted to students through different online initiatives. But due to the digital divide, many of the students could not avail the benefit of online education. Therefore, to minimize the learning loss and bridge the digital divide, the Government has taken an innovative step to provide mobile devices to the students of class IX & X which will mitigate learning losses in respect of these under privileged students. This will act as a positive reinforcement for continuity of Education and will also act as a deterrent against dropout rate in schools. This scheme will benefit almost 8 lakhs students of class IX & X,” the Finance Minister said.

Ajanta Neog also proposed to set up five new medical colleges in Golaghat, Dhemaji, Morigaon, Bongaigaon, Tamulpur, setting up 10 Commando battalions by aiming to give rigorous training on the line of SPG, NSG, CRPF, Cobra, etc, one state university in Karbi Anglong, a new zoo in Dibrugarh and Silchar, provide sanitary napkins to all girl students of Class 6-12, three new polytechnics at Hajo, Majuli and Tingkhongat etc.

The Budget Estimates of 2021-22 show a receipt of Rs. 107317.54 Crore under the Consolidated Fund of the state and out of this, Rs. 88979.40 Crore is on Revenue Account and the remaining Rs.18338.14 Crore is under Capital Account.

“After adding the receipt of Rs. 182253.14 Crore under Public Account and Rs. 200 Crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate Receipts amount to Rs. 289770.68 Crore. As against this, total expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State in 2021-22 is estimated at Rs. 107556.29 Crore of which Rs. 84405.47 Crore is onRevenue Account and Rs. 23150.82 Crore is on Capital Account. Taking into account the expenditure of Rs. 181610.81 Crore under Public Account and Rs. 200 Crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate expenditure for the year is estimated at Rs. 289367.10 Crore. Thus, estimated transactions during the year will result in an estimated surplus of Rs. 403.58 Crore.This, together with the opening deficit of Rs. 969.78 Crore will lead to a Budget deficit of Rs. 566.20 Crore at the end of the year 2021-22,” Ajanta Neog said.

On the other hand, Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that, for the first time in the history of Assam, a woman Finance Minister Ajanta Neog presented the annual budget in the assembly.

Also Read: Assam could have become another Udta Punjab: Himanta Biswa Sarma

“We are extremely happy that a new landmark has been created on the floor of the house. In this budget we have tried to implement all our election promises, whether it is an incentive on waiver of microfinance loan, creation of 1 lakh new jobs in the government sector, continuity and expanding the horizon of Orunodoi scheme, to demolish the digital device to provide smartphone to the Class 9, 10 students of the government schools with a free internet package, establish of 1000 new hospitals in view of Covid, new five medical colleges. We try to touch every angle or every aspect of our socio, political, cultural, and economic life. This budget has specifically laid focus on the agricultural revolution, whether it is a blue revolution or it is a green revolution,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.