10 Gram Free Gold For Each Poor Bride & Rice At Subsidized Price to Economically Poor Promised In Assam’s Budget

ASSAM Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said the State government will focus on 18 flagship schemes in the 2019-20 financial year including providing subsidised rice at Re 1 per kg to 53 lakh households, one tola gold to brides belonging to the economically weaker section, and expanding the scope of the Atal Amrit Abhiyan. Presenting the Budget for 2019-20 at the Legislative Assembly, Sarma said the government will also initiate schemes or the ‘Astadash Mukutar Unnoyonee Mala’. “We have finalised a progressive set of 18 schemes. This set comprises five schemes retained from the previous year while eight schemes are being introduced afresh. The remaining five schemes are expanded versions of the existing schemes. These schemes are broadly focused on areas of capital expenditure and social security,” he said. Elaborating on subsidised rice, he said he announced allocation of Rs 377 crore during 2019-20 for the Affordable Nutrition & Nourishment Assistance (ANNA) Yojana under which subsidised rice will be provided at Re 1 per kg. “Currently under the National Food Security Act, the Central government provides rice at Rs 3 per kg to 57 lakh households in Assam covering a population of 2.46 crore… we will provide rice at a further subsidised rate of Re 1 per kg instead of the present rate… and this move will benefit 53 lakh households,” he said.Gold for brides: Sarma said the government will give one tola gold to brides under the ‘Arundhati’ scheme, as it is customary to provide gold at the time of marriage. The benefit under this scheme can be availed upon formal registration of marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954. “…we will limit it to only the economically weaker section whose annual income is below Rs 5 lakh. This benefit, however, consistent with our Population Policy, shall be available only for the first two children per family and only in cases where the bride and the groom have both attained the legal age of 18 years and 21 years, respectively.” Sarma said. He is earmarking Rs 300 crore for the scheme. Old age pension: The minister said the PRANAM Commission, set up to handle all cases filed by parents against children who are employees of the State government, will be operationalised completely from February 17. He said the Budget has an allocation Rs 250 crore for Swahid Kushal Konwar Sarbajanin Briddha Pension Asoni to provide more funds as and when new beneficiaries are identified. Family assistance: Sarma also announced launch of the Immediate Family Assistance Scheme for widows. “We are launching a new scheme under which any woman, up to the age of 45 years, who loses her husband, will receive a lump sum amount of Rs 25,000 as Immediate Family Assistance which will support the family tide over the financial vacuum created by the loss of the bread earner,” he said. He said in addition to Rs 25,000, for regular maintenance expenses, the widow will also be eligible for a monthly pension of Rs 250 until she attains the age of 60 years, post which, she will be moved to the old age pension scheme. Dedicating this compassionate pension scheme in the name of Indira Miri, the minister announced an allocation of Rs 136 crore to cover 40,000 families that are expected to benefit under the Immediate Family Assistance Scheme and to cover an estimated 2.4 lakh widows under the Indira Miri Universal Widow Pension Scheme. Divyang University: The government has fixed an outlay of Rs 200 crore in the budget for the Deen Dayal Divyang Sahayjya Asoni that assures a monthly sum of Rs 1,000 to the divyangjans. He said the government has also decided to set up a university for divyangjans at Boko in Kamrup district. Scholarship: Sarma announced an allocation of Rs 200 crore for the Minority Girls Scholarship Scheme. He said under the Kanaklata Mahila Sabalikaran Yojana, the government will provide a capital subsidy of Rs 50,000 per self help group (SHG) on bank loans to 63,000 SHGs during 2019-20. He allocated an initial sum of Rs 300 crore for the project. Atal Amrit Abhiyan: The minister announced expansion of the coverage of Atal Amrit Abhiyan to include ICU packages, trauma, critical care, paediatrics and paediatric surgery, and bone marrow transplantation with an allocation of Rs 200 crore. “The expanded Atal Amrit Abhiyan will benefit a large chunk of poor and middle class since the BPL population is already covered under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana,” he said. Farm loan subsidy: Sarma said farmers will continue to get 25 per cent subsidy on their short-term crop loans taken against Kisan Credit Cards up to a maximum limit of Rs 25,000 and will also continue to avail the scheme of zero interest on short-term crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh. “As was promised in Budget 2018-19, Finance Department has released funds amounting to Rs 257 crore to the Agriculture Department for the implementation of the Mukhyamantri Krishi Sah Sajuli Yojana through which we will transfer Rs 5,000 to 5 lakh farmers to encourage them to use scientific implements. The  government  will give an incentive to the employers to the tune of Rs 10,000 per local youth employed on the job,” he said, announcing an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore.SME loans: Sarma said that to incentivise the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the government will bring a scheme under which it will transfer 20 per cent of the principal amount, subject to a ceiling of Rs 50,000, for all the loans availed during the year 2019-20 under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) and other similar loans meant for SMEs.(with inputs from The Assam Tribune)

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