Assam Budget lacks intent to improve poor record on human development
Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Guwahati: Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog on Monday maintained that the state budget for the next financial year is focussed on poverty alleviation, developing entrepreneurship and inclusive development.

She also claimed that there has been increase in allocation to core sectors, like agriculture and education, and schemes have been planned for sustained development of the state.

Replying to a discussion on the annual budget for 2023-24 in the Assembly, which was presented by the minister on March 16, Neog said, “We have a three-fold objective poverty alleviation, developing entrepreneurship and inclusive development.”

Neog had presented a Rs 3.21 crore budget for the 2023-24 financial year, announcing funds for promoting micro-entrepreneurship and fresh recruitments in different departments.

Refuting opposition charge of reduction in budgetary allocation to core sectors, Neog said there has been 19 per cent increase in funds for agriculture.

In the education sector, there has been a 54 per cent increase in allocation, which also includes Rs 2,500 crore included in the Public Works Department budget for school construction.

“In 2021-22, we could spend Rs 1.60 lakh crore, thus for the first time crossing the Rs 1 lakh crore-threshold. In the current fiscal, we have already spent Rs 1.80 lakh crore and it will further increase as the financial year is yet to end,” Neog said.

Asserting that employment generation was a key focus of the budget for next fiscal, Neog said the “largest ever self-employment scheme” has been announced.

“We want to make our youth self-employed and also become employers,” she said.

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On opposition’s allegation that the government was trying to create only beneficiaries, Neog maintained the schemes meant for the economically-weaker sections were to improve their living standards and ensure equal development.

“We are ensuring a dignified living standard for all sections and all our schemes will supplement this effort,” the minister added.

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