Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday claimed in the assembly that the BJP-led government in the state has implemented nearly 100 per cent of the announcements made in annual budgets since 2016, while the Congress executed only 10 per cent of the proposals during its last three terms.
The fact that the BJP government has presented Action Taken Reports (ATR) on the budget in the assembly since coming to power in the state proves that the announcements are being implemented, he said.
“If the budget announcements and how many of those were implemented since the BJP came to power here in 2016 are reviewed, we will find that almost all the promises have been kept.
“Of course, there could be one or two that could not be done due to some issues,” Sarma, who was the finance minister in the first BJP government in the state, said while participating in a discussion on this fiscal’s budget.
Ajanta Neog, the first woman finance minister of the state, on July 16 presented a Rs 566 crore deficit budget for 2021-22 in the assembly, proposing no new taxes.
“If one does some research on the Congress budgets from 2001 to 2015, one will find that 90 per cent of announcements were not implemented. The sanctity of the House has increased since the BJP came to power as we do what we say here,” the CM said.
The Congress had ruled Assam for three consecutive terms since 2001 and its government was ousted by the BJP in 2016. The saffron party returned to power in 2021.
Taking part in the discussion, opposition members said that the government should have increased tax on the rich and on liquor and reduced it on essential food items.
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On ATRs presented at the end of each fiscal, Sarma said, “Let the opposition show me one example of another finance minister who gives an ATR and dares to accept what could not be done and what has been implemented.”
All the 18 announcements made in the last state budget have been implemented, he claimed.
He added that revenue generation could be a problem this year, but the government will try to fulfil its announcements as much as possible.
On Opposition’s criticism that the budget does not include any measure to control price rise, Sarma said that prices cannot be controlled by a budget.
“The only way to avoid price rise is to increase our own production. The budget has given ample importance on taking our key sectors forward, including setting up an agriculture commission,” he added.
On the government’s vision to make Assam among the top five states of the country, Sarma said that development is measured in various parameters and not just economic ones.
He emphasised that crimes should be checked to improve Assams position in sustainable development parameters and also highlighted the role of the people at large in crime control.
Finance Minister Ajanta Neog said that the pandemic has created pressure on the economy, and development and Covid management has to go hand in hand.
In the budget, the focus has been given on agriculture and increasing work culture, she said.
On the opposition criticism of creating beneficiaries through the budget, Neog said, “Beneficiaries are created due to circumstances. Schemes have been announced for providing economic protection to the poorer sections so that they can move up in the economic strata.”
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Taking part in the discussion earlier, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Rakibul Hussain said that imposition of no new taxes cannot be supported.
“There should have been an increase in tax on rich people, on liquor, and reduction on items needed by the general people, like mustard oil,” the Congress leader added.
Describing the budget as ‘unrealistic’, another Congress member Bharat Narah said, “The government has spoken of flood-free Assam. But monsoons will come annually and bring rain. How can floods be totally avoided?”
Opposition AIUDF MLA Md Aminul Islam raised apprehensions on revenue generation as the economy has taken a hit due to the pandemic.
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