Assam Government’s 18 Flagship Programmes
Astadash Mukutar Unnoyonee Maala
Additional Classrooms, Partition Walls, and Electricity in Elementary Schools
As announced in the Assam Budget 2017-18, Gunotsav was launched across the state and it has become one of the major success stories of the Government. However, the assessments on the infrastructure side present a very grim picture. There are hundreds schools that lack basic facilities such as separate classrooms, provision of electricity etc. In order to take care of these myriad deficiencies plaguing our basic educational system, after a quick assessment, it was found that a total requirement on account of additional classrooms, partition walls, and provision of electricity in these schools comes to around Rs.980 Cr. Without any delay, and despite competing demands for resources from other sectors, an entire sum of Rs.980 crore has been allocated in one go, during the Financial Year 2018-19.
Tejasvi Nav-adhitam-astu Edu-Infra Funds
Assam Govt had launched the ‘Tejasvi Nav-adhitam-astu Edu-Infra Funds (TNEIF)’ scheme to re-imagine and re-structure higher education was launched as per the Budget promise of 2017-18. Accordingly, funds were gradually allocated for the infrastructure development of professional colleges and Universities to be spent over a period of three to four years. These investments are already showing early signs of rejuvenation across our institutions. To continue with this initiative during Budget 2018-19, an additional Rs.256 crore for the infrastructure development of the leading colleges and Universities of the State to give a major boost to Higher Education in the State.
Inclusive Cancer Control Programme
Every year thousands of people from Assam travel outside the state for treatment seeking a cure for the deadly disease – cancer. Most of those who travel, come back poorer and more often than not, bereft of a loved one. The North East Region has a very high cancer incidence and Assam accounts for a majority of these cancer parents.
Cancer has become synonymous with death – time has come to address this fallacy. What makes this worse is that almost 60% of all cancers in Assam are preventable and if detected early lead to better survival rates. In the past two years, Government of Assam has taken several steps to address this. The State Cancer Institute (SCI) in Guwahati is fast emerging as a state-of-the-art hub for cancer treatment in the state and boasts of the first Nuclear Medicine facility in the Region. The expansion plans for SCI will propel it to be among the top cancer institutions in the country. However, even coming to Guwahati is a challenge for many people in the state and that too for the long duration required for any cancer treatment.
Six Government Medical Colleges namely, Guwahati , Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat, Tezpur, Barpeta and eleven District Hospitals namely, Darrang, Dhubri, Goalpara, Golaghat, Hafl ong, Hojai, Karimganj, Kokrajhar, North Lakhimpur, Nagaon and Tinsukia will be strengthened by 2019 to provide varying degrees of cancer care. The State will partner with the pioneers who bought cancer care to India in the form of Tata Memorial Hospital. Tata Trusts will be an equal partner in this landmark public health program and towards all the activities Tata Trusts has committed an investment of Rs. 830 crore and Government of Assam will contribute Rs. 1080 crore spread over two financial years.
Atal Amrit Abhiyan
In order to make quality healthcare accessible to all, Atal Amrit Abhiyan,an ambitious critical care health assurance scheme for the citizens of Assam state, was launched on 25th December, 2016. Over 1.6 crore beneficiaries have already been enrolled in this program. Each beneficiary over 18 years of age has been given a laminated card with a unique identification number and recieved the biometrics of each and every enrolled beneficiary for identification. It is envisaged that almost 92% of Assam’s total population will be covered by this scheme and when fully implemented, it would be one of the largest such universal health assurance schemes in the world catering to both BPL and APL population.
Universalization of Old Age Pension Scheme
PRANAM Act, a law that lays down that all Government employees should take care of their elderly parents, has already enacted in Assam. Now, it’s time to go beyond the regulatory boundaries of the Government and look after the entire elderly community and provide benefits that meet their minimum living needs. Taking a huge leap forward, the State Government is launching a pension scheme that covers each and every senior citizen of the State, irrespective of whether they are above poverty line or below poverty line.
With this scheme, each elderly citizen will be entitled to a monthly pension of Rs. 250 per month.
Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Aru Jeevan Suraksha Yojana
To incentivize the digitization of the economy of the Tea Garden employees, and as part of the initiative of financial inclusion the State Government announced that Rs.5000 will be credited to the bank accounts of each Tea Garden employee who had opened their Bank Accounts immediately post-demonetization. ‘Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela’ was launched in January 2018 wherein Rs. 2500 was transferred as the first tranche to each of the 7,21,485 bank accounts of Tea Garden workers across 752 Tea Gardens spread over 26 Districts of Assam through Direct Benefit Transfer. Further, to ensure that this digitization is not a one-off event, a further Rs.2500 additional incentive will be transferred to all the accounts that are kept active continuously for 6 months. Going a step further, processes are initiated for enrolling all these active bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana(PMJJY), a Life Insurance coverage plan, and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PMSBY), an accident insurance scheme which have a maximum sum assured of Rs.2 Lakhs.
Kanaklata Mahila Sabalikaran Yojana
A scheme to promote at least one lakh self-sustainable, self-help groups (SHGs) in the State through loan and capital subsidy will be launched in the upcoming financial year. In addition to the earlier target of one lakh SHGs, this year the scheme would be further scaled up and add another 26,000 SHGs. In the coming years the Kanaklata Mahila Sabalikaran Yojana is all set to be a torchbearer for empowerment of our rural women and enable them to realize their rights and power in all spheres of life.
Zero Interest on Crop Loans, Farmers’ Debt Relief and Financial Assistance for Farm Implements
During the last one and a half years, it was observed that Assam farmers have not been able to take full benefit of the subsidized, short term crop loans through KCCs. The prime reason for this is that most of these accounts have outstanding dues and as a result, credit flow from the banks has been clogged. The incentive of a one-time cash incentive of Rs.3000/- per inactive KCC holding farmer will continue. In a big step to provide relief to farmers who have availed bank loans, the Government have decided a one-time measure to unclog the much needed credit supply to the farmers. Further, zero interest loan, massive tractorization, 25% contribution on the outstanding loan amount are some of the unique schemes which will be launched in the state. In order to encourage our farmers to use scientific implements for better productivity, a financial assistance of Rs. 5000 per farmer is envisaged.
Last year inputs were sought from the Honourable MLAs regarding the schemes they would like to include as part of the Budget. Though many of the needs of their constituencies have already been covered as part of the package of schemes announced by the State Government, there was a need to earmark funds for executing certain “Signature Schemes” in each constituency. Envisaging the creation of model villages where good quality public services – in terms of sanitation facilities, roads, drainage, electricity, drinking water, schools, healthcare institutions, Government of Assam have conceived the Axom Adarxo Gram Yojana. Over the next three years, the Government will select two villages in each of the 126 assembly constituencies which would then be supported as model villages with holistic, inclusive social and economic development as fundamental objectives.
Axom Adarxo Gram Yojana
State Government has already stressed the need for holistic, all-round development of villages and aims to double our farm income in 5 years through the Chief Ministers Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY). Taking inspiration from the scheme, Assam Government have conceived the Axom Adarxo Gram Yojana, a scheme which envisages a creation of model villages where good quality public services – in terms of sanitation facilities, roads, drainage, electricity, drinking water, schools, healthcare institutions – are provided on incremental basis to all the citizens. Over the next three years, the Government will select two villages in each of the 126 assembly constituencies which would then be supported as model villages with holistic, inclusive social and economic development as fundamental objectives.
State Level Mega Skill Development SchemeState Level Mega Skill Development Scheme
This Government is committed to providing comprehensive skills training to the youths of the state so that they can get gainful employment in different priority sectors. With the Advantage Assam Summit bearing witness to such encouraging participation and commitments from big corporate houses it becomes imperative to upgrade the skills of the local youths of the State. Now, the Government will undertake massive skills training program with assured placement for the youths of Assam, empowering them to compete with the best from the rest of India. The Government will invest Rs. 14,800 per individual, in training them and providing them with employable skills. Through this skills training programme Government sets a target to cover 1.5 Lakh youths over a period of next 3 years which is one of the biggest initiatives being undertaken in the country. These endeavours are linked with the flagship programme of SVAYEM Yojana to employability and encourage entrepreneurship amongst our young population.
City Infrastructure Development Fund
For improving the urban infrastructure in 6 large cities (except Guwahati) of the state, City Infrastructure Development Fund was announced in the last year’s budget. This year, Government intend to additionally focus on the middle-tier towns, those with the population above 40000 (as per Census 2011) and accordingly propose to bring eight new towns under the scheme – Bongaigaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur, Karimganj, Goalpara, Sibsagar, Barpeta and Golaghat. Like the CIDF announced earlier, the approach would be to identify the critical infrastructural deficiencies in these 8 towns. Funds will be invested in such a way that durable assets are created such as public parks, landmark roads, district libraries, district level stadia etc. are created to provide benefit to a large section of people.
Conversion of 1000 Timber Bridges into RCC Bridges
Many of these timber bridges are lifelines of Rural Assam and have been constructed many decades earlier and have hardly witnessed any maintenance & upkeep. In 2017-18, 208 such bridges were sanctioned. Another 792 bridges as well to fast-track the conversion of the remaining timber bridges into RCC bridges are expected to be sanctioned by PWD.
Finance Department will liberally and expeditiously sanction funds for this purpose. When completed, these strong, robust bridges will provide the much needed solid commutation support for our rural areas.
Scholarship scheme for girl children belonging to the Minority Communities
A new scheme is announced that proposes to support all girls belonging to minority community, to further aid and incentivize them to keep pursuing higher education. Towards this end, an annual scholarship of Rs. 2,000, Rs. 4,000, Rs. 6,000, Rs. 10,000 for girl students belonging to minority community studying in class 10th, 11th-12th, graduation & post-graduation, respectively has been proposed. These amounts which will be credited into their accounts through the DBT mode simply on self-certification that they are unmarried and pursuing their education. This step is taken in the firm belief that if we educate a woman, we educate a family and this translates to an educated society.
Years of underfunding and perennial neglect to maintenance has dilapidated the State Highways (SH) and Major District Roads (MDR) network. The SH & MDR network now needs fast reconstruction. Most roads have poor riding quality, weak pavements, and inadequate capacity. Only about 16% percent of the secondary roads are double lane and 20 percent are still unpaved. To undertake the improvement of SH & MDR network, a programme – Assam Government is launching ‘Axom Mala’ in line with ‘Bharat Mala’, for their reconstruction and maintenance of roads and rehabilitation of RCC bridges. Simultaneously, the Assam State Road Board (ASRB) will be strengthened by implementing the Action Plan already developed under Assam State Roads Project (ASRP). From a long-term perspective, the state government will fund primarily the reconstruction and maintenance of SH & MDRs, simultaneously it will ringfence additional resources through external funding from agencies like JICA, ADB, World Bank, etc.
Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment Yojana
Last year Assam Government announced the Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment Yojana, or SVAYEM which envisages to provide financial assistance to young entrepreneurs to about one lakh young people. However, working on the various modalities and mechanism including appropriate banking linkages, took slightly longer time than anticipated. Finally, the scheme is going to be launched in the Financial Year 2018-19.
MSME Credit Guarantee Scheme
The role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) is vital in Assam’s growing economy and society as they provide employment opportunity for the youths along with showcasing the traditional knowledge and wisdom of Assam. This is the reason why MSME sector was given ample importance during Advantage Assam as well. But it has been seen that it is not easy for MSMEs to secure loans from major banks because they are usually unable to provide necessary collaterals. At the same me, the risk perception of the lending agencies has to be addressed too so that loans may be given to MSMEs without fear of NPA. Therefore, in addition to the 20% reservation for local MSME products in all Government tenders and 25% preferential pricing that the state cabinet recently approved, I wish to present a scheme to facilitate them to receive loans without collaterals from major banks.
Therefore, I propose a new scheme called ‘MSME Credit Guarantee Scheme’, wherein an amount of Rs. 100crore will be parked in a Credit Guarantee fund, which will act as a guarantee in case of failure of a project. The guarantee will cover up to 50% of the loan amount taken from scheduled commercial banks & RRBs for loans up to Rs.50 Lakh. Both existing and new MSMEs will stand to benefit from this credit guarantee scheme which, I am hopeful, will encourage entrepreneurship & the growth of industries.
Deen Dayal Divyang Xahajya Achoni
“Deen Dayal Divyang Xahajya Achoni” was launched to provide an assistance of Rs. 5000 for medical treatment for our differently abled brothers and sisters so that they lead their life with dignity and fulfilment. This was an effort towards sensitization and around 1.4 Lakh Divyang brothers and sisters were covered during 2017-18. As a moral and societal responsibility towards them, this scheme is extended further by providing a monthly sum of Rs.1000 (Rs. 12,000 annual) to our Divyang brothers and sisters starting from 2018-19. This Government would like to take this initiative further to ensure that this does not remain confined to a scheme; rather, it becomes a legally enforceable right of our Divyang brothers and sisters.