Assam Budget 2024: No New Tax, Rs 2.9 Lakh Crore Outlay

Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog on Monday tabled the state budget for 2024-25 in the Assam Legislative Assembly with an outlay of Rs 2.9 lakh crore and a deficit of Rs 774.47 crore. This is her fourth budget as the finance minister and she said it is a realistic budget that focuses on the development of the state.

No New Tax Proposed in Assam Budget

The budget does not propose any new tax or levy on the people of Assam. Neog said that the state government has been able to maintain fiscal discipline and prudence despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the floods. She said that the state’s own tax revenue is expected to grow by 14.7% in 2024-25 compared to the revised estimates of 2023-24.

Major Allocations and Schemes of Assam Budget

The budget has made major allocations for various sectors such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, social welfare, tourism and environment. Some of the key schemes and announcements are:

  • Rs 10,000 crore for the health sector, including Rs 1,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccination and management, Rs 500 crore for upgrading district hospitals and Rs 300 crore for setting up oxygen plants in all civil hospitals.
  • Rs 15,000 crore for the education sector, including Rs 1,000 crore for supporting the education of 10 lakh girls up to post-graduation level to prevent child marriage, Rs 500 crore for providing free textbooks and uniforms to all students up to class 12 and Rs 300 crore for establishing smart classrooms in all government schools.
  • Rs 12,000 crore for the agriculture sector, including Rs 1,000 crore for providing interest-free crop loans to farmers, Rs 500 crore for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Rs 300 crore for promoting organic farming and value addition.
  • Rs 20,000 crore for the infrastructure sector, including Rs 5,000 crore for constructing new roads and bridges under the Asom Mala scheme, Rs 3,000 crore for improving urban infrastructure under the Amrut Mission and Rs 2,000 crore for developing rural infrastructure under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • Rs 8,000 crore for the social welfare sector, including Rs 2,000 crore for providing monthly pension of Rs 3,000 to senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the Arunodoi scheme, Rs 1,500 crore for providing financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to each bride belonging to economically weaker sections under the Arundhati scheme and Rs 1,000 crore for providing free rice to all beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
  • Rs 5,000 crore for the tourism sector, including Rs 1,000 crore for developing new tourist destinations and circuits under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, Rs 500 crore for promoting eco-tourism and wildlife conservation under the Wildlife Safari & Rescue Centre project and Rs 300 crore for creating a world-class convention centre in Guwahati.
  • Rs 3,000 crore for the environment sector, including Rs 1,000 crore for implementing the Assam Climate Change Action Plan (ACCAP), Rs 500 crore for rejuvenating the Brahmaputra river under the Namami Brahmaputra scheme and Rs 300 crore for planting one crore saplings under the Haritha Assam Mission.

Fiscal Deficit and Debt

The budget estimates a fiscal deficit of Rs 774.47 crore, which is equivalent to 0.26% of the gross state domestic product (GSDP). The finance minister said that this is well within the limit of 3% prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. She also said that the state’s debt-to-GSDP ratio is expected to be 18.7% in 2024-25, which is lower than the national average of 21.4%.

Vision for the Future

The finance minister said that the budget reflects the vision of the state government to make Assam a self-reliant, prosperous and inclusive state. She said that the budget aims to achieve the following goals by 2030:

  • To increase the per capita income of Assam to Rs 3 lakh from the current Rs 1.2 lakh.
  • To reduce the poverty ratio of Assam to 10% from the current 28%.
  • To increase the literacy rate of Assam to 95% from the current 85%.
  • To increase the forest cover of Assam to 35% from the current 29%.
  • To increase the renewable energy share of Assam to 25% from the current 6%.

She concluded her speech by thanking the people of Assam for their support and cooperation and expressed hope that the budget will usher in a new era of development and prosperity for the state.

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