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Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gives Assam its first digital budget at the assembly
Posted on: 12-03-2018 , 04:08:PM | DY365 Bureau

 Picture Courtesy: Twitter

March 12, 2018: On Monday Assam received its first digital budget as Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented a deficit budget of Rs.2149.04 crore in an electronic format at the Assam Legislative Assembly.


This is not the first time that any state budget will be presented in an electronic format. Earlier, it was Andhra Pradesh, which became the first state to introduce e-budget. However, this digital budget will also be the first one in the country to be drafted with citizens' participation. 
The budget session was streamed live on TV and social media (Facebook and Twitter) whereas the entire budget will be available in newspapers on Tuesday.
It may be stated that the MLAs received the documents on a tablet, while the media was provided with the papers in an 8GB USB drive. 
This is the BJP-led government's second budget in the state.
As stated by Sarma, the 2018-19 budget has three strands; - “EKATRIKARAN’ – consolidation of the policies that they have announced and the work they have undertaken in the last two years; “XOMPROXARON”- Expansion and scaling up the ambitions of some of their existing programs; and “UTTORON” - raising the standards of their pursuance.
Some of the highlights of Budget 2018-2019:
1. A new medical college will be established in Karimganj. Construction of Kokrajhar, Tinsukia and Nalbari medical colleges will commence from this year. The ongoing construction work of Diphu, Dhubri, Nagaon and North Lakhimpur will be further fast-tracked. 
2. Ten new Government Law Colleges will be established in Dhubri, Nalbari, Rangia, Nagaon, Diphu, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Silchar and North Lakhimpur. 
3. Ten new B.Ed. colleges will be established at Karbi Anglong (West), Bongaigaon, Baksa, Nalbari, Kamrup, Morigaon, Dima Hasao, Sivsagar, Biswanath and North Lakhimpur. 
4. Three new polytechnics will be established at Tingkhong, Majuli and Hajo. 
5. Construction work of engineering colleges at Behali, Bongaigaon, Sualkuchi, Udalguri, Nalbari and Nagaon to be started during the next financial year. The ongoing construction work of Dhemaji and Golaghat engineering colleges will be completed this year and accordingly, adequate budget provision has been made. 
6. Nine new women colleges will be established predominantly in Minority Areas viz. Sonai, Chenga, Batadraba, Jaleswar, Golakganj, Bilasipara, Mangaldai, Hailakandi and Karimganj. 
7. Further, six more new degree colleges shall be opened at Borsola (Sonitpur), Doomdooma (Tinsukia), Majuli, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri, in addition to the model colleges already announced under the Uttoron initiative. 
8. To promote skill development in the state, a Mega Skill City in partnership with ITEES Singapore to be set up, to provide globally relevant employment skills to the youths of Assam. 
9. A horticultural college will be established at Dima Hasao.
10. A Sports University at Chabua in Dibrugarh district in the name of Sri Sri Aniruddhadeva to be set up.
11. To introduce modern solid waste management facilities in Guwahati and 6 other cities viz. Nagaon, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Silchar and Tinsukia, a proposal to provide 50% Viability Gap Funding for solid waste management projects being made.
12. Whereas keeping in mind hardships faced by the citizens of Guwahati during the rainy seasons due to water logging, a regulation that mandates digging of the roads prior to re-construction so that the height of the road does not increase was being proposed.
13. The City Infra Development Fund (CIDF) to be continued for beautification and landmark project infrastructure creation. An amount of Rs.100 crore has been allotted in the current budget. 
14. It has proposed to develop three modern freight terminuses with Intermodal Transport at Changsari, Chaigaon and Sonapur to ease out the traffic congestion and to reduce accidents and pollution in the city for which Rs. 5 crore have been allocated in the budget for the development of this project which will be developed on PPP mode.
15. To resolve the issue of lack of parking, more number of parking facilities will be created in the city for which an allocation ofRs 5 crore has been made in the current budget. 
16. To address the perennial problem of artificial flooding in Guwahati, an amount of Rs.50 crore has been allocated for development and maintenance of existing water retention basins.
17. The Nation mostly associates the image of Assam with tea and rhinoceros. However, there are many indigenous items that have originated in Assam that have seldom got their due recognition. In order to preserve the identity of these indigenous items and realize their full potential, a proposal to obtain Geographical Indication status for all these mentioned items has been made. 

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