'Upward growth trend mull state's economic health'

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Guwahati, Mar 14: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, replying to the debate on the state budget for 2008-09, dismissed the Opposition's allegations that the budget did not support growth, highlighting that the state was on an upward trend with regard to growth rate.

Mr Gogoi, also the state Finance Minister, said the allegations that the budget was not progressive and directionless did not hold ground in face of the statistics and figures which pointed to the increasing robust financial health of the state and development. He had presented a Rs 2,819.23 crore deficit budget for 2008-09 in the House on March 10.

He pointed out that the state had moved from deficits in revenue and fiscal receipts to surplus in these categories, earning the state a Rs 105 crore loan waiver from the Planning Commission for its commendable financial management.

He maintained that the state was narrowing upon the national GSDP and the per capita income had also shot up from Rs 14,000 to Rs 22,000, which indicated the state's improved financial position.

''The government had inherited a financial condition in near total shambles, but we have reversed it and are progressing fast,'' Mr Gogoi claimed.

Crediting the people of the state for their contribution in bringing about resurgence in the state's economy, he also stressed the need for more employment generation and rural development, the two priority sectors of his government.

On the Opposition's charge that the budget was silent on employment schemes, Mr Gogoi highlighted that there were several ongoing schemes introduced by the present government in its first term itself that were harvesting rich dividends, both in terms of employment in salaried sectors as well as self-employment.

Underscoring that the state's dependence on Central assistance was decreasing, Mr Gogoi also pointed out that the state was being able to contribute better to the Central-run schemes in the states, which ensured greater inflow of Central fund.

The Chief Minister, on the concerns of insurgency in the state, said though it remained a major issue, the state was fast progressing.

He expressed optimism over the future of the state and its economy, highlighting the rapid strides the state had made and added that the next fiscal budget would augment the state's position further.


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