Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday presented a Rs. 2,349.79 crore deficit growth-oriented State Budget for 2017-18 financial year merging the Plan and non-Plan heads. Considering the budgetary estimates of the next fiscal only, the year will result in a projected deficit of Rs. 367.19 crore, Sarma said in Assembly while presenting the Budget. This, together with the opening deficit of Rs. 1,982.60 crore, will lead to a budget deficit of Rs. 2,349.79 crore at the end of the financial year 2017-18. The Budget estimates of 2017-18 show a receipt of Rs. 84,732.16 crore under consolidated fund of the state, of which Rs. 70,719.61 crore is on Revenue account and the remaining Rs. 14,012.55 crore is under Capital account. After adding the receipt of Rs. 1,62,580.51 crore under Public account and Rs. 100 crore under Contingency fund, the aggregate receipts amount to Rs. 2,47,412.67 crore. Against the income, the total expenditure from the consolidated fund of the state in next fiscal is estimated at Rs. 85,922.69 crore, of which Rs. 68,319.45 crore is on Revenue account and Rs. 17,603.24 crore is on Capital account. Taking into account the expenditure of Rs. 1,61,757.17 crore under Public account and Rs. 100 crore under Contingency fund, the aggregate expenditure for the year is estimated at Rs. 2,47,779.86 crore.
On restructuring the Budget, the Finance Minister said in the House that the Plan and non-Plan heads have been merged and the estimates have been made through Capital and Revenue heads. All employees who were earlier drawing salaries from Plan head will join those who were earlier drawing their salaries from non-Plan and now all salaries are bucketed under the head Establishment Expenditure. Thus the systemic discrimination in the budgeting of salaries of some categories of employees like Muster Roll and Work Charged employees has been drawn to a close with this budget.
A provision of Rs 10 lakh crore has been made in the budget as credit to farmers with a 60-day period for interest waiver. Besides, the increase of funds to NABARD and the dedicated micro-irrigation fund for it will greatly help the farm sector. The government’s target to pull one crore households out of poverty by 2019 is laudable. An allocation of Rs 19,000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana to complete one crore houses for the homeless will immensely boost the government’s ‘Housing for All’ dream.
As per the budget provisions the Assam Govt is to release arrears of employees with retrospective effect from April 2016. A Wildlife court will be established in Kaziranga. Rs. 200 crore is approved for loan to the dedicated youths at about 20% subsidy on each loan.1000 HS passed poor girl students will be awarded a scooty in the remote areas. One lakh youths will get a loan of Rs 1 lakh each with 20% subsidy. Mobile ATMs are to be provided in the hospitals. 116 model hospitals will be established in the state. Rs.5,000 will be provided to each of 4,50,000 specially able people for medication. Medical colleges will be established in Nagaon, Dhuburi and North Lakhimpur. From the next year every specially-abled people will be offered Rs.1,000 each month thus Rs.12,000 per year for medication will be sanctioned. 7000 TET teachers will be regularized. Engineering college will be established in Karimganj, Golaghat and Dhemaji. 8 women colleges will be established in minority dominated areas besides 3 govt degree colleges, 20 B.Ed colleges, 33 skill development centres. There are numerous other provisions in the budget, which, if properly implemented will benefit the people in general besides stabilising the fiscal position of the state.