Union finance minister Arun Jaitley didn’t announce any specific scheme or projects for the north-east in his budget speech on Wednesday. But the mood in the region was positive overall.
States in the region would get a total of Rs 43,285 crores in 2017-18 and there’s hope that of the 3,500 km of new railway lines commissioned for the coming financial year a sizeable part would be constructed in the region.
Expectedly, chief minister of BJP—ruled Sarbananda Sonowal termed the budget as historic and stated it will bring financial transparency and ensure faster growth for farmers, poor, youth, infrastructure and industry.
Jaitley fixed the target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 at Rs 10 lakh crores adding “special efforts” will be taken to ensure adequate flow of credit to the under serviced eastern states and Jammu & Kashmir.
The union government has proposed broad-gauge connectivity to all state capitals in the north-east by 2020 and conversion of entire rail network to broad-gauge in the 2017-18 budget.
“Budget is pro-poor, progressive and lays out roadmap for a sturdy Indian economy. Compliments Arun Jaitleyji and Narendra Modiji,” Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.
Terming the budget as one designed for holistic growth, he added relief for small tax payers, affordable housing, resource mobilization for rural economy and employment generation as the key highlights of Wednesday’s budget.
Assam finance commissioner Ravi Kota said the state could benefit from increased allocation to NABARD for irrigation schemes and increase in budget for MGNREGA from Rs 38,500 crores to Rs 48,000 crores.
“With affordable housing given infrastructure status, real estate sector in the state would get a boost,” he said.