Guwahati: The Assam Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Handicraft Policy of Assam, 2022, to facilitate growth and development of craft-based industries and provide training and technological support to artisans and entrepreneurs, officials said.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, also approved the filling up of vacancies in different departments and use of EVMs instead of ballot papers in civic body elections.

The handicraft policy will provide market linkages and online marketing support to facilitate export of the products, a government release said.

Among the key highlights of the policy are capital investment subsidy up to 30 per cent on the amount spent on plant and machinery with a ceiling of Rs 15 lakh for new and Rs five lakh for old handicraft units.

Interest subsidy up to five per cent on working capital loan for five years to all eligible units with a ceiling of Rs two lakh per unit per year will also be provided, it said.

Subsidy up to 50 per cent on the marketing expenditure incurred by the handicraft units for a period of three years subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs 30,000 per annum will also be provided under the handicraft policy, the release said.

Moreover, one time financial assistance up to Rs 30,000 to all eligible handicraft units for developing web portal/app for online marketing of their products, setting up raw material banks and providing photo identity cards to artisans will be covered by the policy, it said.

Three awards to handicraft units in each district and supporting design and development by roping in National Institute of Design, Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Development Commissioner will also be done under it.

The cabinet approved amendment to relevant acts to replace ballot papers with EVMs in municipal body elections, including in Guwahati Municipal Corporation.

It approved creation of Bajali Zila Parishad covering an area of 758.19 sq. km.

It also cleared filling up of 611 vacancies of Section Assistant under various divisions of the PWD (Roads) department and recruitment against 743 vacant posts of assistant professors and 233 grade III and 524 grade IV posts in different provincialised and government model colleges under the higher education department, the release said.

Renewal of power purchase agreement for 31 MW with NHPC till 2043 to help Assam Power Distribution Corporation Ltd get power at a relatively cheaper rate was also approved by the Assam cabinet.

It approved purchase of land directly from landowners instead of the general procedure of land acquisition to implement externally aided projects for flood and erosion management works.

This is expected to reduce time taken to complete the purchase process from 50 months to six months, it said.

The cabinet cleared the formation of Assam Health Infrastructure Development and Management Society for implementation of JICA assisted Strengthening Health Systems and Excellence of Medical Education in Assam’ project or any other externally aided or special projects.

A super speciality hospital (Cardiothoracic and Neurosciences Centre GMCH) society was also given the nod by the cabinet to bring about improvement in service quality, system efficiency, patient satisfaction in hospitals, ensure discipline and accountability among staff.

Investment of additional equity share capital of Rs 55.25 crore by the state government and Rs 8.75 crore by SPSU Assam Gas Company Ltd in the expansion project of Assam Petrochemicals Ltd (APL) was also approved by the cabinet.

It also approved alteration of MoA of APL for enhancement of the company’s authorised share capital from Rs 500 crore to Rs 750 crore.

The cabinet gave assent to the constitution of Assam Youth Commission to protect the interest of the youth within and outside the state.

The Commission will also provide them employment, skill training, training for competitive exams and a platform to register grievances, the release added.

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