Many sops for BPL families in Assam

Sushanta Talukdar

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday doled out sops to reach out to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, women, weavers, students and teachers and cross sections of people ahead of 2011 Assembly polls while presenting Rs 3,464-crore deficit Budget for the 2010-11 fiscal in the Assembly.

The new schemes and projects announced by the Chief Minister include supply of 10 kg rice each month at the rate of Rs 6 a kilogram to 13 lakh BPL families. An amount of Rs. 150 crore has been earmarked for this purpose. He also announced that medicated and long lasting mosquito nets would be provided to 20 lakh BPL families at a cost of Rs 75 crore and two CFL bulbs would be provided free of cost to 10 lakh BPL families. A new welfare scheme to provide shelter, security and basic amenities to migrant and unorganised contract labour was also announced.

Mr Gogoi increased the ex-gratia grant to the next of kin of victim of terrorism to Rs 5 lakh from the existing Rs 3 lakh and earmarking of two per cent of government jobs for next of kin of victims of secret killings and terrorism, one time incentive of Rs 1 lakh to children of fatal victims of terrorism if they go for professional courses.

The Chief Minister, who is also holding the portfolio of Finance, did not propose any new tax and instead proposed removal of existing entry tax on a number of items and lowered the rate of Value Added Tax on several items.

In order to encourage blending and packaging of tea in the State, the Chief Minister proposed removal of entry tax of four per cent on tea.

In the education sector, an amount of Rs 400 crore has been provided for giving financial assistance to 16,130 venture schools and colleges, Rs 200 crore for 8,591 venture Lower Primary and 4,745 recognised Upper Primary Schools, Rs 130 crore for secondary sector, Rs 35 crore for 633 Madrassa schools and another Rs 35 crore for 142 venture colleges. He proposed to appoint three additional teachers for science, mathematics, English in 2320 high schools for which an amount of Rs 62 crore has been earmarked.

Other new projects include a technical university in Nagaon district and two engineering colleges -- one each in Dhemaji and Goalpara districts.