The Assam Budget for 2018-19 today proposed new schemes for women, including scholarships for girl children belonging to minority communities and improving women’s health and safeguard. Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, presenting the state’s first e-Budget in the Assembly here, said, “I would like to announce a scheme that proposes to support all girls belonging to minority community, to further aid and incentivise them to keep pursuing higher education.” He said toward this end, an annual scholarship of Rs 2,000, Rs 4,000, Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 is proposed for girl students belonging to minority communities studying in class 10, 11, 12, graduation and post-graduation, respectively.
The minister said that nine new women colleges will be established predominantly in minority areas such as Sonai, Chenga, Batadraba, Jaleswar, Golakganj, Bilasipara, Mangaldai, Hailakandi and Karimganj. Sarma, who holds the Health portfolio as well, said the Budget also has a proposal for monthly stipend for purchase of sanitary napkins. Meanwhile Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal hailed the state Budget as “people-welfare Budget” aimed at establishing social equanimity and all-round development.
“The Budget aims at development of all sections of the people especially empowering debyangs, farmers, women and youths,” Sonowal said. In terms of the education sector, the Assam Budget proposed to establish new institutes, Sarma said. A new medical college will be established in Karimganj district and construction of Kokrajhar, Tinsukia and Nalbari medical colleges will commence from this year. Besides, 10 new government law colleges will be set up, while as many new B.Ed colleges will come up in different districts, Sarma said.
“To promote skill development in the state, we are setting up a Mega Skill City in partnership with ITEES Singapore to provide globally relevant employment skills to the youths of Assam. I have earmarked Rs 18 crore separately for the setting up of the Mega Skill City. “We have also envisaged the setting up of a ‘State Institute of Public Finance’ to provide top class capacity building of the officials and all stakeholders. Further, we will also set up a State Labour Training and Research Institute,” he said.
The minister said that University Grants Commission (UGC) pay-scales will be applicable for teachers across degree colleges, universities and technical and medical institutions. Sarma added that the state government is working on bringing out a legislation for regulating “malpractices” in private educational institutions. The legislation is aimed at “curbing the increase in the practice of charging exorbitant fees by private schools and undue profiteering by some educational institutions.”