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Budget reflects humanitarian approach: Himanta

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 8 - The State Budget for 2019-20 is not a document doling out entitlements for the sake of creating �lists of beneficiaries� but rather the schemes announced in it are intended to help the needy people fulfil their basic needs and empower the citizens, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today.

Replying to the General Discussion on the budget in the Legislative Assembly, Sarma said that the State Budget 2019-20 reflects the �humanitarian approach� of the government towards the citizens of Assam and termed as �baseless� the allegation made by the Opposition that the announcements were election-centric.

�There is no attempt to create lists of beneficiaries. The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was not brought by us. It was brought by the Congress. What we have done is that instead of providing rice at Rs 3 per kg we will now provide rice at Re 1 per kg. We have not added any new beneficiaries,� he said.

Referring to the �Arundhati� scheme under which the government will give one tola gold each to brides, Sarma said that formal registration of marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954, which is a stipulation for availing the benefit, will prevent child marriages, triple talaq, and abandonment of wives by their husbands, among other things.

�This scheme, while providing one tola of gold to brides, can change the entire social life of Assam and give life-long security to our mothers, sisters and daughters. This single scheme can bring smile to lakhs of women of Assam,� said the Finance Minister, referring to the strict rules laid down under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954.

Speaking about schemes like free uniforms to school children till Class 10, monetary support to hostel inmates from weaker sections and financial assistance to widows, he said that the beneficiaries would include members of all communities.

�Does a student of Class 9 or 10 have voting rights that he or she will vote for the BJP? ... Does anybody believe that a beneficiary from Baghbor or Jania will vote for the BJP just because he or she availed any such scheme? � Will we refer to a woman newly widowed as a beneficiary? Does providing assistance to divyangs, old women and students mean creating new beneficiaries?� argued the Finance Minister.

Sarma said that while the government cannot on its own unilaterally announce hike in the wages of tea garden workers, �we can at least make life easier for them by providing them free rice, sugar and medicines.� He said, �We are only fulfilling our historic social responsibility by providing sugar to tea garden workers.�

He said implementation of the schemes announced during the previous three budgets of the BJP-led government at Dispur has been very good and added that the new projects announced in the budget for 2019-20 would also be implemented fully on the ground.

Sarma said that work on 17 out of the 18 flagship schemes announced during last year�s budget is progressing well and mentioned schemes like providing financial assistance to women�s self help groups (SHGs), old age pension, assistance for divyangs, cancer care and credit to the MSME sector in this regard.

The Finance Minister said that the allegations made by Opposition about the government not following up on its budget announcements of previous three years were not based on facts.

�I am in the Assembly since 2001. Earlier nobody used to seek explanation from the finance minister concerned why work on the Guwahati Metro Rail Project or the Kurua-Narengi bridge was not undertaken despite announcement in the budget. Such questions used to be put to the departmental ministers concerned,� he said.

Sarma added, �There is no statistical or empirical data to prove that schemes announced by our government in the previous three budgets were not implemented.�

He said that if one looks at all the budgets presented in the Assembly since 1985, then one will find that the rate of implementation of projects announced in the State budgets has been the best under the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government.

The Finance Minister said that he would submit an �Outcome Budget� in the next session of the Assembly with regard to the announcements made during the State Budget presented by him in the House on Wednesday.

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Budget reflects humanitarian approach: Himanta

GUWAHATI, Feb 8 - The State Budget for 2019-20 is not a document doling out entitlements for the sake of creating �lists of beneficiaries� but rather the schemes announced in it are intended to help the needy people fulfil their basic needs and empower the citizens, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today.

Replying to the General Discussion on the budget in the Legislative Assembly, Sarma said that the State Budget 2019-20 reflects the �humanitarian approach� of the government towards the citizens of Assam and termed as �baseless� the allegation made by the Opposition that the announcements were election-centric.

�There is no attempt to create lists of beneficiaries. The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was not brought by us. It was brought by the Congress. What we have done is that instead of providing rice at Rs 3 per kg we will now provide rice at Re 1 per kg. We have not added any new beneficiaries,� he said.

Referring to the �Arundhati� scheme under which the government will give one tola gold each to brides, Sarma said that formal registration of marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954, which is a stipulation for availing the benefit, will prevent child marriages, triple talaq, and abandonment of wives by their husbands, among other things.

�This scheme, while providing one tola of gold to brides, can change the entire social life of Assam and give life-long security to our mothers, sisters and daughters. This single scheme can bring smile to lakhs of women of Assam,� said the Finance Minister, referring to the strict rules laid down under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954.

Speaking about schemes like free uniforms to school children till Class 10, monetary support to hostel inmates from weaker sections and financial assistance to widows, he said that the beneficiaries would include members of all communities.

�Does a student of Class 9 or 10 have voting rights that he or she will vote for the BJP? ... Does anybody believe that a beneficiary from Baghbor or Jania will vote for the BJP just because he or she availed any such scheme? � Will we refer to a woman newly widowed as a beneficiary? Does providing assistance to divyangs, old women and students mean creating new beneficiaries?� argued the Finance Minister.

Sarma said that while the government cannot on its own unilaterally announce hike in the wages of tea garden workers, �we can at least make life easier for them by providing them free rice, sugar and medicines.� He said, �We are only fulfilling our historic social responsibility by providing sugar to tea garden workers.�

He said implementation of the schemes announced during the previous three budgets of the BJP-led government at Dispur has been very good and added that the new projects announced in the budget for 2019-20 would also be implemented fully on the ground.

Sarma said that work on 17 out of the 18 flagship schemes announced during last year�s budget is progressing well and mentioned schemes like providing financial assistance to women�s self help groups (SHGs), old age pension, assistance for divyangs, cancer care and credit to the MSME sector in this regard.

The Finance Minister said that the allegations made by Opposition about the government not following up on its budget announcements of previous three years were not based on facts.

�I am in the Assembly since 2001. Earlier nobody used to seek explanation from the finance minister concerned why work on the Guwahati Metro Rail Project or the Kurua-Narengi bridge was not undertaken despite announcement in the budget. Such questions used to be put to the departmental ministers concerned,� he said.

Sarma added, �There is no statistical or empirical data to prove that schemes announced by our government in the previous three budgets were not implemented.�

He said that if one looks at all the budgets presented in the Assembly since 1985, then one will find that the rate of implementation of projects announced in the State budgets has been the best under the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government.

The Finance Minister said that he would submit an �Outcome Budget� in the next session of the Assembly with regard to the announcements made during the State Budget presented by him in the House on Wednesday.