The upcoming Assam budget which will be presented in the digital format on March 12 has evoked mixed reactions among the legislators. While most legislators are quite enthusiastic about the new format, there is a section of MLAs who want to see the budget in the form of the old printed booklet. State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday put all the speculations to rest by saying that MLAs not in favour of digital budget will get manual budget.
The budget for the 2018-19 fiscal in electronic or digital format will be provided to the MLAs on tablets on March 12. The tablets will be loaded with the budget proposals, the budget speech of the finance minister, the Economic Survey of Assam and other related documents.
Interestingly former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, not known for having the best relation with Sarma vehemently criticized the idea of presenting the budget in a digital format. “Not everyone is equally adept at handling tablets and smartphones. This government make things complicated unnecessarily. They should have discussed with the legislators before taking this decision.”
Sarma said, “Only one MLA has spoken against digital budget. We will go ahead with the digital budget but if anyone has problem with it, we will provide him manual budget.”
The Finance Minister also said the opposition parties have dual opinion inside and outside the assembly. “When we see them giving byte outside Assembly, they will be having so many problems. But they never raise these problems on the floor of the Assembly. Till now, no opposition legislator has asked any question about budget implementation. There has been just one question on last year’s budget” he said, adding “However, we are carrying out the task of implementing budget in a planned manner. Departments which will be able to spend more will be allocated more funds. In this budget, preference will be given to development.”