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200 pc fund hike for NE organic farming

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Feb 28 � Acceding to a demand from the State, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced setting up of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Assam.

�I propose to set up AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam, keeping in view the need to augment medical sciences in Bihar. I propose to set up another AIIMS-like institution in the state,� said the Union Finance Minister.

The proposal to establish an AIIMS in Assam has been pending for long. Last year the then Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan had told newsmen that the proposal for establishment of an AIIMS in Assam was still alive and the Centre was in talks with the State Government.

The Minister confirmed that a proposal was pending with the Centre to set up an AIIMS in Assam and his Ministry was in discussion with the State Government. The State Government had submitted a proposal for setting up the medical institute identifying three spots in Kamrup, Nagaon and Mangaldai districts. A final decision on the location, however, was yet to be taken.

Meanwhile, presenting his Budget, Jaitley declared that a Centre for Film Production, Animation and Gaming would be set up in Arunachal Pradesh. An Institute of Science and Education Research each in Nagaland and Odisha was also announced.

Meanwhile, budgetary allocation for the North Eastern Council (NEC) has been hiked to Rs 600 crore from Rs 480 crore allocated last financial year. Allocation for Non Lapsable Pool of Central Resources has witnessed a hike to Rs 90 crore from Rs 72 crore.

The budgetary allocation for the Ministry of DoNER has been increased to Rs 2362.74 crore from Rs 2,306 crore allotted last fiscal.

The biggest hike was for organic farming in the North-east, allocation for which has been hiked to Rs 125 crore from Rs 33 crore, marking a nearly 200 per cent hike. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday said that the North-east has the potential of becoming the organic capital of the country.

On the other hand, the Rs 15-crore special package for Karbi Anglong has been discontinued.

Reacting to the Budget, Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi said there was no reflection of the ground reality in the Budget and only 10 per cent of the population would be benefitted.

The Budget was not clear about government policies for the North-east and made no mention about the local entrepreneurs.

Gogoi further said the NDA Government ignored the demand for inclusion of Majuli river island in the cultural heritage site list.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Bijoy Chakravarty said the Budget was for growth of every sector and every section of the society. Assam has been given an AIIMS and the agriculture and health sectors had been specially earmarked, she argued.

Rajya Sabha MP Pankaj Bora said the Budget showed the intent of the government that it was pro-rich and for this it had reduced the Corporate Tax.

The government had said it would construct one lakh kilometres of road, but was now silent on how many km it would construct in the North-east. The government was also equally silent on why it left out Majuli for development as a cultural heritage site, he said.

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