The Opposition in Assam on Saturday dubbed the state budget of 2020-21, placed in the Assembly on Friday, as “short-sighted”.
The Opposition parties said the budget was prepared aiming at next year’s Assembly election and it had no solution to the primary problems of unemployment, agricultural and rural issues and issues of perennial floods and erosions in the state.
During the budget discussion on Saturday in the Assembly, the leader of the Opposition, Debabrata Saikia, said the budget had failed to provide a long-term solution to the various problems of the state.
He said: “The finance minister said the gross state domestic product (GSDP) is rising. If we look into the budget it is clear that the growth was mainly attributed to the agriculture, industry and service sectors. But unfortunately, we have found that the budget allocations to these three sectors have been on a descending trend. From almost 3.7 per cent of budget allocation in agriculture in 2017-18, it has gone down to 3.4 per cent in 2018-19. Our state economy largely depends on the agricultural sector and such a trend is discouraging. In the service sector also it has gone down from 15 per cent to seven per cent.”
Saikia asked the state government to re-visit the budget and sanction more funds allocations in the agriculture sector.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi said: “There is no mention of how to deal with the annual flood situation. The budget neither has any remedy nor proper financial allocation for a long-term solution to the flood problem. It is a short-sighted budget that will only create beneficiaries under some schemes but no solution. It may please the public for a short time, but does not address the real problems.”
Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday proposed a series of cash incentives to the public, including a Rs 10,000 annual sop to 27 lakh poor families and free rice to 58 lakh households. Sarma also proposed to give free electricity to all families whose monthly consumption is below 30 units and free bus rides to women, senior citizens and unemployed youths in the state capital.