Assam on Monday cut taxes on essential food items to ease the surging food prices in the Rs. 3,464.46 crore deficit Budget presented in the assembly.

“The opening deficit of Rs. 3,460.47 crore with a transaction deficit of Rs. 6,503.99 crore would have led to an estimated closing deficit of Rs 9,964.46 crore,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the finance portfolio, said after presenting the Budget in the assembly here.

But this was proposed to be reduced by utilising Rs. 6,500 crore from deposits in RBI leading to the Budget deficit Rs. 3464.46 crore, he said.

Acknowledging that price of food items have increased sharply in the last three months, Mr. Gogoi announced the removal of the existing entry tax of one per cent on sugar and four per cent on fish and eggs.

In a popular measure taken for the first time to provide food security to the poor people, a new scheme would be launched to supply 10 kg rice per month to 13 lakh Below Poverty Line families at Rs. 6 per kg, for which Rs. 150 crore was kept aside.

To encourage blending and packaging of tea in the state, the Chief Minister proposed the removal of the entry tax of 4 per cent on the commodity.