Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today presented the state’s first e-budget, a distinction that makes the north-eastern state only the second in the country after Andhra Pradesh to present an e-budget. The Assam budget was streamed live and is also available for download on Google Play Store, the minister said. The minister did not propose any fresh taxes during the budget and proposed a levy of power duty at 5 percent on the ad-valorem basis. The government also announced an increase of one percent stamp duty registration fee for transactions in immovable properties. This year’s budget estimates show a receipt of Rs 90673.42 crore under the Consolidated Fund. Of this, Rs 74118.50 crore is on Revenue Account and Rs 16554.92 crore is under Capital Account. The budget was presented in both hard copy format and in the digital format on tablets to the MLAs in the House, the minister said.
Here are key highlights of Assam budget presented by Himanta Biswa Sarma
* For improvement in the education sector in the state, the minister announced an allocation of Rs 25 crore under the scheme ‘Pratyahban’.
* He proposed to raise the tender fee from Rs 8.25 to Rs 100 for tenders up to Rs 20 lakh and Rs 500 for tenders above Rs 20 Lakh.
* To encourage digital transactions, the minister said that electricity bills can now be paid through website apdcl.org and myBijulee android app or by wallets like Paytm, Phone Pe, SBI Buddy.
* The minister announced an allocation of Rs 16 crore in the current budget under “Sanjeevani- Village Health Outreach Program” in 7680 villages in the phased manner.
* In order to preserve the identity of indigenous items like traditional jewellery, sticky rice, decorative japi etc. made in Assam, Sarma proposed to obtain Geographical Indication status for all such items.
* He also announced Rs 50 crore in Budget 2018-19 for Food and Civil Supplies Department, to strengthen its arms to rectify any market failures and artificial price increase.
* The minister announced ‘Chetona’ scheme for senior citizens. The minister said the scheme will help them to know facilities that are available to them.
* Assam government plans to set up a Tech village on a pilot basis. The minister said this will have state-of-the-art advancements including Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, etc. and added if successful the scheme will be implemented in other parts also.
* Sarma further said that the state government under Deen Dayal Divyang Xahajya Achoni will provide assistance of Rs 5000 for medical treatment for differently abled to help them lead their lives with dignity.
* In order to improve sports infrastructure in Assam, Sarma proposes to give a grant of Rs 5 cr each for installing floodlights in the stadium in Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Diphu, Karimganj, Mangaldai, Tinsukia and Tezpur.