Budget pro-rich, pro-corporate: Assam CM

Guwahati, Feb 28 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogol Saturday termed the union budget for 2015-16 “pro-rich and pro-corporate”, while regional political party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said it was a “depressing” one for Assam and the northeast.

Industry bodies of the region, however, hailed the budget as a “well-balanced” one, taking care of the economy and at the same time emphasising on social inclusiveness of growth.

“The general budget 2015-16 is pro-rich and pro-corporate and it has got no element of ‘acche din’ (good days) as the BJP promised before coming to power. The people of Assam expected more but the budget did not give anything substantial,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister said the fund allocation for MGNREGA was done because of the “pressure, criticism and demand” of the state governments and not for the centre’s love for the poor.

“The people of Assam and the northeast found no reason to cheer as the budget remained silent on the steps for employment generation, flood and erosion. Relief to the agrarian class should have been more if the centre really wanted to bring ‘acche din’ especially to 75 percent of the people of Assam, who are associated with agriculture,” he said.

AGP president Atul Bora said the budget failed to reflect the pre-poll promises of the BJP and there was an indication of laying red carpets to big corporates in the name of development of rural areas.

“People of Assam have been demanding the declaration of floods and erosion as a national problem, security of border areas and urging the centre to consider the Brahmaputra river as a resource,” Bora said.

The budget, however, failed to reflect anything on these issues, he said.

R.S. Joshi, chairman of the Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), one of the leading business bodies in the region, said the northeast will gain benefits from the increase in outlays in different sectors.

“I have found it the most inclusive budget in recent years. There are attempts to address the concerns of all sections and sectors. Overall, it’s a practical budget,” he said.

Former chief secretary H.N. Das said: “Proper attention has been given to the northeast. With the increase in central devolution of fund, the flow of money to the states will be increased.”


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