Main Features of budgets of Assam

Main Features of budgets of Assam :-

Assam finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma on 7 Feb 2017 presented the Budget for 2017-18.

Salient Highlights of Assam budget:-

  • Big infrastructure projects in the 6 cities that have about one lakh population – Silchar, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Nagaon and Tezpur, have been prioritized and critical infrastructure projects will be taken up in these six big cities at a total outlay of Rs 1200 crore over a period of four years under a new scheme ‘City Infrastructure Development Fund’ (CIDF).
  • In order to help the film industry of the State, the budget proposed a subsidy of Rs 50 Lakh for reopening of closed cinema halls and Rs 25 Lakh for renovation of existing/functional cinema halls. A subsidy of 25% of the capital cost in case of establishment of new cinema halls will also be given.
  • Rs 150 crore stabilization fund will be set up to tide over volatility in prices of onion, dal and sugar.
  • Around 670 students of the tea tribes who are pursuing engineering, medical or any other technical course would be provided assistance under Financial Assistance for Higher Studies.
  • Rs 100 crore to increase Muga production in Assam.Main Features of budgets of Assam
  • Redefining the role of Planning & Development Department- The department was rechristened to the “Department for Development and Transformation of Assam (DDTA)”
  • Encouragement to Khadi- Every employee will be provided Rs 1000 on reimbursement basis upon buying two Khadi apparels every year.
  • To attract BPO, State Government will provide upto 90% of one-time expenditure incurred on capital support without any upper ceiling. 100% reimbursement of stamp duty/transfer duty and registration fees paid by BPO/IT/ITES on sale/lease deed. Land will be provided on a long term lease basis at cheaper rates.

Budget Highlights:-

  • The Gross State Domestic Product of Assam for 2017-18 at current prices is estimated to be Rs 2,58,337 crore. This is 15% higher than the estimate for 2016-17.
  • Total expenditure for 2017-18 is estimated to be Rs 85,923 crore, a 3.5% increase over the revised estimate of 2016-17. In 2016-17, there was an increase of Rs 4,764 crore (6.1%) in the revised estimate over the budgeted estimate.
  • Total receipts (excluding borrowings) for 2017-18 are estimated to be Rs 73,467 crore, an increase of 23.3% over the revised estimates of 2016-17. In 2016-17, total receipts fell short of the budgeted target by Rs 7,183 crore. This is driven by reduction in tax collections and grants from centre.
  • Revenue surplus for the next financial year is targeted at Rs 2,400 crore, or 0.93% of the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiscal deficit is targeted at Rs 7,702 crore (2.98% of state GDP).
  • Departments of Health, Water Resources, and Rural Development saw increases in allocations for the year 2017-18. On the other hand, the Department of Roads and Bridges witnessed a decrease in allocation.

Policy Highlights:-

  • Incentives to promote industry: Government to provide up to 90% of one time expenditure incurred on capital expenses involved in setting up Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centres in the state. Further, 100% reimbursement will be provided on stamp duty paid by BPO and information technology firms.
  • Promotion of banking: Rs 5,000 each will be given to tea plantation workers who have opened bank accounts.
  • Pay Commission: The government will retrospectively implement the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations from April 1, 2016. The estimated burden on the state is expected to be Rs 2,200 crore.
  • Rs 5 crore has been allocated to provide two-wheelers to 1,000 top-ranking girl students who pass high school in 2017.

Tax Proposals:-

  • State to benefit about Rs. 300 crore per annum in terms of GST compensation for five years with annual growth rate of 14%.
  • Barcode containing holographic label on the liquor bottles is being implemented after completing the formalities like floating the tenders.
  • e-Governance has been taken up under the ASPIRe (Assam State Public Finance Institutional Reforms) Project and all kinds of revenue collection, permits, licences shall be made online and fully digital.
  • Assam Motor Vehicle Taxation Act, 1936 is being amended for effective taxation on ad-valorem basis in case of 2 Wheeler/3 wheeler (Private)/Ambulance (commercial use).
  • Land re-classification will be done immediately with online provision.
  • In eight districts, Mouzadar system will be introduced in place of existing Tahsildari system.
  • Sale permission will be made online and time bound. Land revenue activities will be made online in an integrated manner.
  • Mouzas will be computerized. Collection of land revenue will be monitored online.
  • 101 new areas identified for extraction of Sand shall be expedited for commission so that it will fetch estimated additional revenue of Rs. 45 crore.

Tax exemptions:-

  • Hotels and lodging houses, including homestays in rural areas will be exempt from paying luxury tax.
  • 50% entertainment tax exemption to permanent multiplexes for 3 years which screen Assamese/regional film on one of the screens.
  • Cess on green tea leaf further reduced from 15paise/kg to 10paise/kg for small tea growers.
  • Women self-help groups are exempted from stamp duty on documentation of bank loans up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

18 Key Initiatives:-

SVAYEM (Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment) Yojana:-

  • Under this programme, one lakh youth will be provided suitable credit support for taking up income generating enterprises. The loan amount will be up to Rs. 1 Lakh for the new business and up to Rs. 2 Lakh for the existing entrepreneurs.
  • State Government will provide 20% subsidy and will also set up ‘Risk Fund’ with select banks so that the banks will be encouraged to advance loans without much hesitation of recovery issues.
  • Detailed Guidelines of SVAYEM Yojana will be issued soon. For this purposes, Rs.200.00 crore towards 20% subsidy and Rs.100.00 crore for risk fund have been set apart.

Kanaklata Mahila Sabalikaran Yojana (KAMS):-

  • The Government of Assam proposes to promote 1 lakh women self-help groups. Each SHG will be extended a financial support upto Rs.5.00 lakh as loan including capital subsidy over a period of time. An initial grant of Rs.25,000/- will be provided to each group in the current financial year and then subsequent support will depend on fulfilling a set of criteria.
  • This programme will help more than 10 lakh women in the State directly and accordingly Rs.250.00 crore has been allotted in the current financial year for this.
  • Further, the Government will exempt the women SHGs from stamp duty for documentation related to Bank loan upto Rs.2.5 lakh in the financial year 2017-18.

Gene Bank for Indigenous Fish (GBIF):-

  • For the conservation of the 82 endangered indigenous fish population of Assam like Puthi, Dorikona, Baralia, Khalihana, Chelakani, Bata, Aleng etc, a program for the conservation of the germplasm, propagation and restoration has been planned.
  • With the aim of conserving the Fish Biodiversity a scientific directory of indigenous fish species along with a data base of genebank of entire Assam is being planned.
  • It is proposed to initiate a Scientific Conservation Programme for Indigenous Fish (SCoPIF) by involving the Fishery College of Assam & the Fisheries Department, covering both experimental and natural habitat at an estimated cost of 9.36 crore.
  • For this purpose, Rs. 2.00 crore has been allocated in the Current Budget to kick start the project.

Reforms In Mid-Day Meal: Bi-Weekly Eggs & Cooking Gas:-

  • The Government of Assam has decided to provide eggs to all 42.61 lakh children in the Lower Primary and Upper Primary schools twice a week as part of the Mid Day Meal programme at a cost of about Rs 130 crore per year.
  • Further, the Government intends to provide cooking gas connection to every Government school providing Mid Day Meal. This will not just help our children get faster and hotter meals but also reduce the environmental impact.
  • Moreover, to ensure the timely availability of funds for the various expenditures involved like purchase of raw materials, remuneration of cooks, other incidental expenses etc. the Government of Assam proposes to introduce a system – something akin to Green Channel – wherein the required amount is released by the State Government in a timely manner without waiting for releases from Government of India.

Price Stabilisation Fund:-

  • Government of Assam plans to set up a Rs. 150 Crore “Price Stabilization Fund” to be at the disposal of the Food & Civil Supplies department for them to step in and correct any market failures which lead to rapid increase in the prices of essential commodities.

Financial Incentives For Ujwala:-

  • In order to incentivize the adoption of LPG connections by BPL families, the Government of Assam plans to provide financial assistance of Rs 1000/- per family in addition to the incentives provided by Government of India through it Ujwala scheme which aims to provide free LPG connections to BPL families. This will fasten the adoption of LPG connections and transform the kitchens of Rural Assam in a rapid manner. For this purpose, Rs. 5 crore has been allocated in this Budget.

Tejasvi Navadhitamastu Edu-Infra Funds (TNEIF): Development of Professional Colleges and Universities:-

  • The Government of Assam proposed to allocate special grants of Rs. 667 crore in the name of Tejasvi Navadhitamastu Funds for infrastructure development of Professional Colleges and Universities to be spent over a period of three to four years.
  • Further, the Government of Assam will start 8 women colleges in Minority dominated areas, three Government Degree Colleges, three Polytechnics, 20 B.Ed Colleges (one each in Karbi-Anglong, Dima Hasao and B.T.A.D areas), 33 Skill Development centers, one Dairy Science College at Sorbhog, one Agro Forestry and Biodiversity College at Kukilabari, a new University of Veterinary and Life Science by carving from Assam Agriculture university, a new Cultural University in Majuli and three Universities at Hojai, North Lakhimpur and Barpeta District.

City Infra Development Fund (CIDF):-

  • The Government of Assam is launching the ‘City Infra Development Fund (CIDF)’ worth Rs.1200 crores to be spent on big public infrastructure projects, in the 6 large cities of the State with more than one lakh population: Silchar, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Nagaon and Tezpur.
  • In this budget, Rs 120 crore has been allocated for this purpose. This amount is planned to be spent on the development of projects like river-front, Public Parks, Landmark Roads, Marriage halls, District Libraries, District Stadiums etc. For instance, in Dibrugarh, Riverfront development will be one of the big priorities.

CMSGUY – Entry Point Activities:-

  • 500 crore has already transferred to the Mega Mission Society and Rs. 1000 crore more has also been provided in the Supplementary Demand of 2016-17. Other Missions under the Mega Mission are being registered.
  • Further, the Governing Council of the Mega Mission Society under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister has recently decided to implement three important entry-point activities. These include:
  1. Supply of new tractors for farm mechanization
  2. Football field development in convergence with MGNREGA
  3. Establishment of Knowledge Centres.

Mission Muga:-

  • In Assam, strength of silk industry lies in 16.43 lakh weavers and 2.75 lakhs rearers and 99% weavers are women. To increase the production of Muga silk by 10 times by the year 2026 and for Assam to emerge as a leader in the world market, an ambitious Mission Muga is being announced in this budget.
  • Such a programme requires a comprehensive and integrated mission mode project to cover whole range of activities from growing a large scale host plantation of Muga, Saulu, Dighlati, involving the Muga rearers, weavers and upto marketing through modern outlets and on e-marketing over internet to reach the customers globally.
  • We have a registered society in the Handloom Textiles & Sericulture Department namely Assam Silk Outreach Mission Society which will be responsible for taking up such this project to achieve the target of producing one million kg Muga by 2026.
  • Further, the Government proposes to develop nurseries & host plantations in 500 hectares in Government lands, 2000 hectraes in degraded forest area & 8000 hectares in private individuals’ lands during 2017-18.
  • For this purpose, Rs.100.00 crore has been allocated in this budget.

Zero Interest On Crop Loans:-

  • To encourage the uptake of credit by our farmers, Government of Assam proposed to introduce “Zero Interest Crop Loans” by giving 100% interest subventions on agricultural loans taken by farmers of Assam.
  • Perhaps Assam is the first state in the country to take such a transformative intervention to drive agricultural loans which will encourage the farmers to avail loans for agricultural purposes and help the rural economy. For this purpose, Rs. 25 Crores have been allocated in the budget 2017-18.

Financial Incentives For Farmers Using Kisan Credit Cards (KCC):-

  • To re-activate the over 8 Lakh inactive KCC’s, the Government of Assam proposes to introduce a one-time cash incentive of Rs. 3000 per inactive KCC holding farmer if he renews the Card.
  • A detailed guideline will be issued for this purpose and an amount of Rs. 65 Crores has been allocated in this budget.

Conversion Of 1000 Timber Bridges Into RCC Bridges And Construction Of Rail Over Bridges:-

  • This year the Government of Assam intends to convert 1000 of these timber bridges into permanent RCC bridges and for this purpose Rs. 100 crores have been allocated in the current budget.
  • Further with the active support and help of the Ministry of Railways, Government of Assam has identified 48 such places where Rail Over Bridges can be constructed with 50% state share.
  • Accordingly, Rs. 50 crores has been allocated for this purpose so that the works can be taken either by Railways or PWD(R) as per the feasibility and at mutual convenience.

Tea Garden Workers Financial Inclusion:-

  • In the last couple of months, Government of Assam has opened over 6.50 Lakh number of bank accounts for tea garden workers and this has strengthened our resolve further to improve their financial inclusion.
  • To drive the Financial Inclusion of Tea Garden workers further, the Government of Assam proposes to pay Rs 5000/- to each tea garden worker in his or her bank account. Initially, Rs. 2500/- to each workers who have opened bank account and subsequently another Rs 2500/- will be paid to them if the wages are received through the Bank account continuously for six months and for this purpose Rs 287 crores have been set apart in this budget.

Wage Compensation For Pregnant, Temporary Workers Of Tea-Gardens:-

  • For better health and nutrition of the Pregnant, Temporary Workers of the Tea-Gardens, Government of Assam will introduce a system of onetime payment of Rs. 12,000 to each pregnant woman of garden areas so that she can better look after herself and her unborn baby without compromising the livelihood of her family.
  • The Government is hopeful that this initiative will bring down the high MMR and IMR of garden areas.

Setting Up Pravasi Asomiya Department:-

  • The Government of Assam proposed to set up a new Department namely, Pravasi Asomiya Department very soon so as to provide a platform for the substantial number of Assamese diaspora settled in various countries.
  • This will help to their roots in the State and help facilitate interaction with the Government and other stakeholders and contribute to the trade, business and in other walks of life.

Deen Dayal Divyang Sahajya Achani :-

  • As part of Government of Assam’s mission to reinvent the Social Welfare Department, it proposes to provide Rs. 5000 for the medical treatment of each of 4, 50, 000 Divyangs in the State.
  • The scheme is dedicated to Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya and hence this agship program is named as “Deen Dayal Divyang Sahajya Achani”.
  • Accordingly, Rs. 250 crore has been allocated in the current budget and any additional amount required for the scheme will be provided in due course of time.

Urban Housing:-

  • The goverment has taken up steps for large scale construction of houses in urban areas under the National Flagship Programme, “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Housing for All” and eight towns viz. Guwahati, Nagaon, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Kokrajhar and Dhubri are being covered as per the guidelines of the Central Government.
  • In order to help the poor and the homeless, the Government of Assam has decided to give a subsidy of Rs 50,000 to each beneficiary in addition to the other benefits already provided by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
  • For this purpose, and for this purpose Rs. 100 crores have been allocated in this budget.


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