As the nation as a whole looks up to the Atmanirbhar Bharat slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Assam government is gearing up to put in their contribution through 'Atmanirbhar Asom'. The State is also planning to contribute to the direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes rolled out by the Center, by contributing a match.
State Finance Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that the package of Rs 20 lakh crore announced by PM Modi, which was unveiled over a five-day press briefing by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will give a fresh lease of life to many industries in the state. Assam is home to around 66,000 (sixty-six thousand) MSMEs.
Revealing details of the various schemes being rolled out, Sarma said that those who became NPA over the last few years will now get another chance to revive their business as the Center is focusing more on local products. "There are 66,000 MSMEs who will benefit. Even the NPAs will get a chance of revival," Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Further speaking on the financial health of the State and the future path, he said, "Through overdraft and by enhancing borrowing capacity, the Government of India has ensured that the State doesn't need to face any problem."
Stressing that the State government is not taking the migrants who are coming back to their homes in Assam as burdens, he said that they will get work under MGNREGA. "The migrant workers will get two months monetary assistance from the Center, the State has decided that to match with it, we will also provide them nutritious food for 15 days of quarantine, which they will undergo at their own home," he said. People in home quarantine are not provided with food, but the State will do so, in order to support them, he added.
The Assam Finance Minister further lashed at former Union Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who has been criticising the Center on Atmanirbhar Bharat. Dr. Sarma said, "Chidambaram has said what he feels, to know the ground reality you will have to meet the women of Assam who are getting benefits of Jan Dhan account. He is an intellectual, I don't know if he is or not."
According to the figures made available by the Finance Minister of the State, there are one crore Jan Dhan accounts in the State, who are getting benefits of the recent assistance being rolled out by the Center. "There are one crore Jan Dhan accounts in the State, they will be credited with Rs 500 for three months through DBT. The State will have a benefit of Rs 1500 crore through this alone," he added.
"The opposition has been criticising that people are not getting anything, there are 35 lakh Ujjwala Gas connections in the State, they will get 3 free cylinders, cost of one cylinder is Rs 700, so if we calculate it's a benefit of Rs 725 crore to the poor people. To witness it they will have to go and ask the people who are really getting the benefits," Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
He further said that never in history, any government extended such large scale benefits directly to the beneficiaries, in such a silent manner, without much hullabaloo.