The state government under chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has come up with five major announcements in the Assam Budget Session 2023 with special focus on women empowerment, government employees, education sector, and religious institutions, etc.
Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog has presented Rs 935.23 crore deficit budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 on Thursday in the assembly.
Orunodoi Entitlement Enhanced
At the budget presentation today, finance minister Ajanta Neog on Thursday announced that the state government has decided to further enhance the Orunodoi entitlement by Rs 150, thus, making it Rs 1,400 per beneficiary per month by the end of this financial year.
Orunodoi scheme which was launched by the state government has been a great help for millions in the state to combat poverty. Under this scheme, the monthly benefits have been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,250 from October 2022 benefitting more than 17 lakh households.
The state Government had rolled out "Orunodoi 2.0" on December 14, 2022 with a very inclusive set of guidelines.
Special Focus on Women Empowerment
Assam Budget 2023 also emphasized on women entrepreneurship by targeting the existing potential of Self Help Group (SHG) women. With this, every woman associated with SHG will be encouraged to transform herself into a home based entrepreneur.
To kick start this process, the state government will ensure that individual SHG member has her own bank account.
“We will disburse Rs 1000 into all such bank accounts of SHG members to incentivise her to maintain an active bank account and to develop business project proposal. If the project is approved, the woman will get Rs 10,000 in subsequent year to develop her business into a successful home-based enterprise. All these payments would be done through DBT. Through this initiative, we plan to develop 30 lakh women entrepreneurs in the State,” said Neog while presenting the budget today.
Not only this, there are around 1,13,820 widows (beneficiaries) who receive National Widow Pension with entitlement of Rs 300 per month.
“The state government will verify these beneficiaries and if already not covered under Orunodoi, all such beneficiaries will be provided a top-up of Rs 950 per month to provide them total amount of Rs 1250 per month,” added Minister Ajanta Neog in her budget speech.
‘Apun Bahan’ Scheme Introduced for Government Employees
For the employees, the state government has come up with “Apun Bahan” scheme, where government employees can avail 2% interest subvention to avail a motor vehicle loan. “This will be enhanced to 3% for women and divyangjan employees,” Ajanta Neog said.
An amount of Rs 12 crore has been proposed for the said scheme.
Construction and Upgradation of universities
In the education sector, the department has taken up the works for construction of seven new universities at Hojai, Bajali, Narayanpur, Golaghat, Chabua, Majuli and Jorhat and upgrade eight universities - Sibsagar college, Kokrajhar Government college, Bongaigaon college, Jagannath Barooah College in Jorhat, North Lakhimpur College, Handique Girl’s college, Nagaon College and Gurucharan college in Silchar into universities by introducing enabling legislations.
At the same time, a new University by the name- Shahid Kanaklata Barua State University will be established at Gohpur, as a tribute to great freedom fighter of Assam and to further improve the standards of higher education in the North Bank. A satellite campus of Bodoland University will also be established in Udalguri.
There will be a total provision of around Rs 1,200 crore for building infrastructure.
Rs 15 Lakh each to Religious Institutions
Under the revamped Assam Darshan scheme, an amount of Rs 15 lakh each will be provided for ancient religious institutions - Namghars, Mandirs, Mosques, Churchs, Gurudwaras which are more than 100 years old. Rs 180 crore has been allocated for this scheme. Earlier, the state government had provided Rs 10 lakh each to 130 such institutions.
Further, to preserve the cultural heritage and legacy, the state government under Assam Darshan scheme has taken up projects to preserve around 8000 new Namghars in this financial year.
Moreover, religious institutions having higher tourist footfalls and where common festivals are celebrated, the state government will provide a fund of Rs 2.5 lakh per institution.
Earlier, the state government had taken initiatives for preservation and maintenance of Batadrava Than and birthplace of Madhabdev at Narayanapur in their previous budgets. The construction activities in these places will be completed this year.