GUWAHATI, March 7 - Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today criticised the Assam Budget 2020-21 as an election-oriented exercise with little meaningful emphasis on long-term development of the State or the people.
Taking part in the general discussion on the Budget in the Assembly, Gogoi said that at a time when the State�s economy is hit by a slowdown, a visionary approach with thrust on long-term infrastructure development and employment generation was a dire need but the Budget was sorely lacking in those critical aspects.
�Not just the State, the entire country is undergoing an economic slowdown, stemming mainly from the Modi government�s wrong policies. The need of the hour is to effect lasting reforms and not freebies. Of course, we need both short-term and long-term interventions, but the latter, more critical to transform the economy, is missing in the Budget,� he said.
The three-time former Chief Minister added that employment generation during the last few years had slumped to an all-time low under the BJP regime. Stating that various developmental indices for Assam were far below national average, Gogoi said that rural development was critical to boost the State�s development but the Budget had nothing of the sort.
Some of the State�s perennial problems, such as flood and erosion, he added, were ignored by the budget. �Worse, the Centre is now asking the State government to manage floods on their own, which is impossible,� he said.
Participating in the Budget discussion, Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia said the sectors which pushed the State�s growth rate � agriculture, industry and services � were given least priority by the government.
He said that instead of fulfilling the promises made in the earlier Budgets, the government is only bent on creating beneficiaries only for electoral gains.
Among those who took part in the deliberations were Satyabrata Kalita, Teras Goala, Kishore Nath, Durga Bhumij and Sanjay Kishan.
Bhumij, in his speech, said that the BJP government in the State had for the first time paid the PF contributions for the ailing Assam Tea Corporation (ATC) tea gardens, setting an example in the process.
�Previous governments remained mute spectators even as the PF dues were mounting to hundreds of crores of rupees. �Our government recently paid around Rs 100 crore for the purpose and we expect that the issues of ATC gardens will be addressed adequately,� he said.
He added that the government is also doing a great job in ensuring proper construction of IAY houses for the poor, whereas during the previous regimes, the entire process was mired in corruption.