Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday tabled a Rs 2,149.04 crore-deficit budget that focussed, among others, on setting up new educational institutions and improvement of roads and infrastructure, officials said.
It also focused on increasing social media presence of government departments, revival of closed industrial units, support to youths and above all -- providing monthly stipend for purchase of sanitary napkins to 5 lakh girls.
Presenting the first ever e-budget in the Assam Assembly, Sarma said that besides establishing new degree colleges, the government also plans to set up ten new law colleges, ten new B.Ed Colleges, nine new women colleges, three new polytechnic and a new medical college.
"Education is the backbone of society. Expansion of educational infrastructure is one of the basic initiative that our government has been taking from the very first day," Sarma said adding that while a new medical college will be established in Karimganj in Barak Valley, 10 new government law colleges will be established at Dhubri, Nalbari, Rangia, Nagaon, Diphu, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Silchar and North Lakhimpur.
"Similarly, 10 new B.Ed Colleges will also be established at West Karbi Anglong, Bongaigaon, Baksa, Nalbari, Kamrup, Morigaon, Dima Hasao, Sivsagar, Biswanath and at North Lakhimpur districts," he said.
"The three polytechnic will be established at Tingklhong, Majuli and at Hajo followed by nine women colleges at Sonal, Chenga, Batadraba, Jaleswar, Golakganj, Mangaldai, Bilasipara, Hailakandi and at Karimganj," he said.
"The government has also earmarked a sum of Rs 4 crore for Swastha Seva Utsav, an exercise to carry out an assessment of public health institutions in the state to provide quality health care services to the people," he said adding that the Swastha Seva Utsav will replicate the Gunotsav, a government programme to assess the educational institutions.
Sarma said he is providing a sum of Rs 200 crore in 2018-19 budget for construction of roads and drainages in towns and cities.
"The finance department will allocate a sum of Rs 242.12 crore to provide improved citizen services including solid waste management and street lights," he said.
"The government has also resolved to improve the women's health and safeguard her dignity by giving an annual stipend of Rs 600 to girls between 12 to 20 years of age to ensure ease of access to disposable sanitary napkins," he said, adding the scheme can be availed by the girls belonging to families whose annual income is below Rs 5 lakh.
He said the scheme will be linked to their date of birth and payments will be directly transferred to bank accounts and payments will automatically stop once the girl turns 20.
It may be mentioned here the budget estimates of 2018-19 show a receipt of Rs 90,673.42 crore under consolidated fund of the state. Of this, Rs 74,118.50 crore is on revenue account and the remaining Rs 16,554.92 crore is under capital account.