Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora termed the Assam Budget 2021-22 presented by the BJP-led government on Friday as “history’s most fraudulent budget”.
APCC president Bora made the statement while addressing a press conference at the Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati on Saturday to convey the Congress party’s views on the budget tabled by finance minister Ajanta Neog in the Assam Assembly on Friday.
Ripun Bora said, “The budget comprises ornamental words, uses references to Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Lakshminath Bezbaruah and Hiren Bhattacharya, whose writings are considered as symbols of Assamese self-respect, including Srimanta Sankardev’s devotional writings and Sanskrit shlokas from Vedas.”
“The budget attempts to make friends – bank friend, cattle friend, agriculture friend and livelihood friend. But the budget has nothing new for the people suffering from abnormal price rise, youth wrecked by unemployment and people hit by Covid19,” APCC president Bora said.
He said the Assam Budget 2021-22 contains allocation of funds and new schemes but it remains to be seen how much will be realized.
It shows income from state taxes as Rs 21177.55 crore and share of central taxes as Rs 20818.82 crore.
The funds from the Centre under centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS) are shown as Rs 26013.09 crore and the Finance Commission’s layout of Rs 11508.65 crore.
“But is has been seen that during the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21, Assam did not get the funds that were due to the state. Only a small amount was received from Central government,” Bora said.
“Assam’s GST share of Rs 80,000 crore is yet to be released while the funds allocated by the Finance Commission were not received,” the Assam Congress president claimed.
According to the Reserve Bank of India, the financial situation of the Central government is poor owing to the Covid19 pandemic.
Also read: Assam Budget 2021-22: Key takeaways
“So, it doubtful that funds from the Centre would be forthcoming. Assam’s tax collection has also suffered from the pandemic and receipts have decreased. So, the tax collection envisaged in the budget will not be realized and the budget is bound to fail,” Bora said.
It is mentioned in the budget that salaries, pension and interest would cost the state Rs 51,000 crore while it is stated that during this financial year, the state government would earn 1 lakh 7 thousand crores.
Deducting Rs 51,000 crore in the heads of salary, pension and interest will leave an amount of Rs 56,000 crore.
“How will the government manage to keep the other promises after spending from Rs 56,000 crore of giving appointment to 1 lakh unemployed?” Bora questioned.
“Therefore, we demand that the government publish a white paper on this subject,” Bora said.
Bora informed that the state government’s borrowing till the time of Tarun Gogoi government in 2016 stood at Rs 35,000 crore.
But the BJP government’s borrowing alone in the last five years itself was Rs 47,000 crore and it has led to credit load of Rs 82,000 crore, he informed.
“The interest on the amount payable this year will be Rs 6,500 crore. It remains to be seen with what magic powers the CM will fulfil all the promises in the budget without any earning,” he said.
“The CM, during his stint as finance minister, criticized our Congress party and government, saying that he would not distribute yarn to our women but take permanent women empowerment measures for them,” Bora said.
“But in the last 5 years, no permanent women empowerment schemes were adopted and this budget also has no mention of these. In fact, the women have been betrayed and their micro- finance loans were not all waived,” he claimed.
“It was promised during elections by BJP that Rs 830 monthly relief under Orunodoi scheme would be increased to Rs 3000. But it was increased to only Rs 1,000 in the budget by adding just Rs 170,” he said.
Assam Accord department, an important department and considered to be a symbol of protection of “our identity” by the Assamese people, has been allocated only Rs 2.7 crore.
“This reveals the government’s farcical responsibility towards the Assam Accord,” he said.
The Covid19 pandemic has led to loss of livelihood of the people working in the unorganized sector.
The pandemic has hit the rickshaw-pullers, auto drivers, private car drivers, daily wage labourers, footpath vendors and small businessmen, carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, barbers, washermen, tailors, mobile theatre artistes and employees, vegetable sellers and fish sellers and others.
“These people are suffering but there is no relief for them in the budget,” the Assam Congress president said, adding, “Not a single word has been uttered to give relief to these people hard hit by pandemic and price rise in the budget.”
He also said there is no mention in the budget for controlling the abnormal price hike of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and life saving medicines that is crippling the common man.
“No mention of price regulation measures in the budget reflects the government’s callousness towards the existence of the lower income group and middle income group of the society,” Bora said.
It was promised that micro-finance loans for women would be waived and there is mention of Rs 12,500 crore that needed to be paid off the loans but only Rs 7,500 crore has been allocated for the purpose.
“From the language of the finance minister, it appears that she is concerned only with payment of Rs 25,000 as relief. By dividing the micro-finance beneficiaries into three sections and allotting Rs 7,500 crore, it is evident that many women would be deprived of the scheme,” Bora said.
“Non-fulfilment of the electoral promise to waive off all micro-finance loan of all women of Assam is the biggest betrayal of the BJP government and party to the women of Assam who came out in large numbers to vote for them believing in this promise,” he said.
Providing employment to 1 lakh unemployed instead of 38 lakh unemployed youth in the state will be like a drop in an ocean, he said.
“The budget has also ignored the provincialisation of venture schools and colleges and the regularisation of contract workers in the health and other departments. This is another betrayal in the new budget,” Bora said.
“Fund allocated for re-establishment of NDFB surrendered cadres is appreciated. But the budget has not provided a penny for the surrendered cadres of other militant organisations in the state. This reflects the irresponsible attitude of the BJP government,” Bora added