Look back at Assam Budget 2019: Promises Made VS Promises Fulfilled
As the state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented the Assam budget on Friday, March 6, G Plus takes a look at ten of the major schemes which were announced by the government during the last year’s budget and the promises which were made and fulfilled from budget 2019-20.
1. Free textbooks for students pursuing graduation
Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had announced that degree students of Arts, Science and Commerce stream will be provided with free textbooks.
“Students will have to first purchase the books belonging to their curriculum and would have to submit their bills to the college. This would then be certified by the college principals after which the government would directly transfer the amount in the account of students,” Homeswar Kalita, principal of Gauhati Commerce College told G Plus. He added that the process for implementation of the scheme has begun but the benefit transfer to the students will take some time.
On the other hand, officials in the state education department informed G Pus that currently the free distribution of uniforms is being done till students of class VIII. However, the distribution of free uniforms for class IX and X students is yet to begin.
2. Uberisation of ASTC
State finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while presenting the annual state budget 2019-20 had announced that the state government intends to put 1000 new buses on the roads of Assam over the next three years. An amount of Rs 70 crores has been earmarked for the initiative, under 'Uberisation of ASTC' Scheme.
Recently, the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) officials announced that they will introduce 678 buses in which interested candidates - individuals, small business enterprise or self-help groups (SHGs), can apply by putting their buses on routes to be operated under the ASTC.
It is to be mentioned that currently there are 850 ASTC-owned buses and 1,369 buses under ASTC which are plying in Assam.
3. Minority Girls scholarship scheme
The scheme aims to strengthen education of girls belonging to the minority communities to encourage and incentivise them to continue their higher education and stay on in the formal education system. A total of Rs 200 crores was earmarked for this.
This scheme is also under implementation. “All school principals have prepared a list of students who are to receive the benefits under the scheme. They send the list to the inspector of schools and the district education officers who then vet the list to ensure that the aid is given to eligible students,” mentioned Bulli Gogoi Bhuyan, district elementary education officer.
She added that the district education officers have forwarded the list of beneficiaries to the state education department a few days ago and the students are yet to receive the scholarship from the government.
4. PRANAM Commission
During the last year’s budget, the finance minister had announced that after passing the Assam Employees’ Parents’ Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Act, 2017 that laid down stringent directives to all government employees to ensure that they take care of their elderly parents.
After this, the government had planned to institutionalize the PRANAM Commission to handle all cases filed by parents against children who are employees of the state government. For this, a chief commissioner and two other commissioners were to be appointed. However, the commission is yet to become operational, as per sources.
5. Asom Darshan
The state government launched the Asom Darshan scheme on February 24. It was promised during the 2019- 20 Assam budget. State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently informed that a total of 915 religious institutions across Assam have been developed under the 'Asom Darshan' scheme and Rs 710 crores have already been spent on
infrastructure development and road construction for the scheme.
Further, the minister informed that these 915 religious institutions include 74 devalayas, 459 temples, 186 satras, 123 nnamghars 47 masjids and mazars, and 26 churches. Apart from this, the tourism department has also identified 316 picnic and tourist destinations in the state for development and these would later be included in the ‘Asom Darshan’ scheme.
6. Giant statues of three monarchs of Assam
In another major announcement last year, the state government had promised in the budget that they would install giant statues of Kumar Bhaskaravarman, Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha and Maharaj Nara-Narayana at the state secretariat complex as icons of good governance.
However, this promise has not been fulfilled by the government till now.
7. Incentives to artists and sportspersons
Giving the example of Rima Das and Hima Das, the finance minister had said that they have now become household names and have made the state proud with their achievements. He had further announced a one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to artists as well as sportspersons.
“To express our appreciation to these icons and to encourage others, we will give a one-time cash incentive of Rs 50,000 each to total 2,000 sporting and art personalities for their contributions,” the finance minister had announced. The state government had also provided the financial assistance to some prominent figures from the field of sports and art.
8. Arundhati Gold Scheme
The government had announced to provide one tola gold, valued at around Rs 38,000 to brides belonging to various communities of Assam where it is customary to provide gold at the time of the wedding. The minister had said that benefit under this scheme can be availed upon formal registration of the marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954 and will reach the beneficiaries right on time for the social marriage. Rs 300 crores was earmarked for this scheme. This scheme has already been rolled out and is under implementation in various districts.
9. Value education training and infrastructural development
Emphasising on the need for value education for students, while presenting the budget for 2019-20, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said, “I announce that we will organise special courses on value education for our teachers and students. We will start the process with the TET qualified teachers who in turn impart value based education to all the students.”
However, it is yet to be conducted by the government till now, informed officials from the state education department.
10. Separate district formation from Dima Hasao
In order to improve administrative control, the government had announced the formation of a separate new district from the existing Dima Hasao district.
“We have decided to create a separate new district from the existing Dima Hasao district considering its large geography and hilly terrain which makes the access of government services difficult for the citizens,” said Sarma. A total of Rs 27 crore special package was announced for Dima Hasao. However, the government is yet to begin the administrative process for the same.