Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has expressed his satisfaction at the direction the Assam Budget 2023-2024 intends to take.
Dr. Sarma said that the Budget presented on March 16 by Finance Minister Ajanta Neog is a document aimed at ensuring socio-economic empowerment and equitable growth comprising all sections of society. He said that the Budget presented shall prove to be a milestone in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of all sections of the society and pave the way for Assam reaching its destined heights on all fronts.
Focusing on the ₹ 5,000 cr allotment in the Budget to provide self-employment opportunities to the State’s 2 lakh youths, the Chief Minister said that this revolutionary step would help in making the youths of Assam stand on their own feet. Stating that the current dispensation in the State believes in the concept of equitable growth, he said that provisions made for microfinance loan waiver is a step in that very direction and shall fulfil one of the most talked-about promises made during the last Assembly election campaigns.
Dr. Sarma highlighted the measures announced in the Budget for nearly 39 lakh members of 3.27 lakh self-help groups of the State. He said that by empowering members of the self-help groups through financial aid would help build robust home-based industries in the State. Dr. Sarma appreciated the new schemes “Chief Minister Ayushman Asom”, developed on the lines of the Central Government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme; and the Chief Minister Awaas Yojana, modelled around Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, for the poor people of the State.
The Chief Minister congratulated the Finance Minister and her team of officials for preparing a Budget that reflects the potential of a new and resurgent Assam.
Meanwhile, industry bodies of the State have also appreciated the State Budget, terming it balanced and progressive.
Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) stated that the Budget is one of the most inclusive budgets in recent times. Social security schemes, aid for MSMEs, the focus on tea industry, the importance laid on the health care sector, infrastructure, and education, came for appreciation in a statement released by ICC to the media.
“The Budget will help Assam GSDP to reach ₹ 5. 5 lakh cr in 2023-24, a significant milestone in our country’s march towards a $5 trillion economy,” read the ICC statement.
Welcoming the Budget, the president of Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Development Association (AREIDA) PK Sharma said the emphasis on infrastructure development and improved connectivity through new roads, bridges, waterways and air connectivity with provision of viability gap under ‘ non Udaan’ route would have a tremendous impact on real estate.
“The Government is supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship. The infrastructure aimed at making Assam a hub of healthcare in North East India by 2026 will have a positive impact on the economy of the State. Waiver of electricity duty for green energy will encourage rooftop solar power,” he said.
“The faceless online building permission system announced is the need of the hour and as stipulated in the Ease of Doing Business Act, 2016. After remaining on paper all these years, its implementation now will eliminate the scope of corruption in approvals,” he added.
The Tea Association of India hailed budgetary provisions and announcements made in the Budget 2023-24 and said it was strong on capital expenditure with its focus on long-term sustainability and will provide a fillip for the tea industry in all spheres.
“The Budget proposals earmarked for the Tea industry of Assam caters to the financial well-being of the industry and take a 360 degree approach in all facets of the Industry’s workings,” the Association said in a press release.
“Tea Association of India along with the entire tea industry hereby lauds the Government of Assam for the most progressive and forward-looking Budget for the tea industry in Assam,” it said.
PK Bhattacharjee, secretary general of TAI, said that the Finance Minister has made several proposals for the tea industry and the workforce associated with it to celebrate 200 glorious years of the tea industry in the State in 2023 in a befitting manner.
Former chairman of FINER, RS Joshi said that the Budget provides a thrust to the ongoing development in a balanced manner via-a-vis the allocated resources for agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, MSMEs, welfare schemes for rural and urban populations, self-employment schemes, etc.