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State industry bodies welcome �realistic� budget

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 7 - Industry bodies of Assam have welcomed the State budget presented in the State Legislative Assembly on Friday for being realistic and targeting inclusive growth.

Reacting to the budget, Ranjit Barthakur, chairman FICCI North East Advisory Council said, �This is a very pragmatic budget, particularly given the fact that the resources available at the hands of the State government are limited. The focus on infrastructure development under Asom Mala, Chuburi Poka Rasta Asoni and city infrastructure development fund will go a long way in boosting the economic prospects.�

Ashish Phookan, chairman FICCI, Assam State Council while welcoming the budget proposals, said the focus on development of entrepreneurship by including the subject in school and college curricula and initiatives like support for development of entrepreneurs� groups and micro enterprise support fund have the potential to transform the State�s economic landscape in the near future. He also welcomed the decision to make special provisions for development of Sivasagar as an iconic tourism destination.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) stated that the budget clearly reflects the State government�s focus on inclusive and sustainable development, job creation and structural reforms.

�The proposal to acquire 13.65 per cent additional stake by the Government of Assam in Numaligarh Refinery Limited will boost the economy of the State and will play the role of a growth engine in the years to come,� Pradeep Bagla, chairman, CII Assam State Council said.

Pankaj Goswami, vice chairman, CII Assam State Council described the State budget as forward-looking.

The Assam Chamber of Commerce has also welcomed the budget lauding the introduction of entrepreneurship as a subject at high school level. �It was our long-standing demand and would go a long way in attracting more students to take up entrepreneurship as a profession,� said ACC chairman Rupam Goswami.

The Joint Forum of Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA), North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) also hailed the Assam Budget 2020. �We are grateful to the Chief Minister, the Finance Minister and the Industries Minister for announcing �Tea Mission� in the budget. Under the �Tea Mission�, a subsidy of Rs 7 per kg for production of orthodox tea, withdrawal of agricultural income tax for three years and 3 per cent interest subvention on all term loans and working capital loans would be of great help,� the forum stated.

It also lauded the government proposal to set up a tea museum to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

�However, we appeal to the Finance Minister to include green tea, white tea, purple tea, yellow tea, Oolong tea and all other speciality teas under the Rs 7 per kg subsidy scheme,� said Bidyananda Barkakoty, adviser NETA.

Tea Association of India maintained that the budget has made a strong pitch for the social security sectors. The association commended the reliefs announced for the tea industry in Assam.

�To increase the demand for Assam orthodox tea in the international market, subsidy or purchase of orthodox machinery commencing 1.4.20 is a much thought-about provision on the part of the government. For the tea industry, specific social security assurances for the tea garden workers are very significant,� it said.

�Some other benefits such as free electricity to tea garden workers and BPL families, family assistance to widows, financial assistance to tea tribes and Adivasi students, etc., lay a strong foundation for raising education capabilities of tea garden youth. Direct Benefit Terms of Rs 3,000 to over three lack tea garden workers and allocation of 4 kg of free sugar are some of the thoughtful initiatives for the tea garden population,� it added.

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