Assam presents its first digital budget, live streamed on social media

New Delhi, Mar 12: In a first in Assam, the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal-led government presented an e-budget on Monday in the Assembly, with a deficit of Rs 2149.04 crore and proposing no fresh taxes. The legislators could access it through tablets while mediapersons covering the budget session were given the budget speech in a pen drive. The assembly session was also live streamed on Twitter and Facebook.
Assam is the second state after Andhra Pradesh to present its budget in the digital format in 2016. However, unlike the other state, Assam budget can be accessed by commpm people as it is available in Google Play Store, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told PTI.
The Assam finance department had called for suggestions from the public regarding the Budget provisions, and more than one thousand people had submitted their views. “We are going beyond that. For the first time in the country, the proceedings of the budget presentation will go live on Twitter and Facebook,” Sarma had said.
In another first, the budget will have separate chapters on gender, child, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and outcome budgeting. According to PTI, the budget proposed a levy of electricity duty at 5 per cent on ad-valorem basis and one per cent increase on stamp duty registration fee for transactions in immovable properties. “The estimated transactions during the year will result in an estimated surplus of Rs 999.99 crore. This, together with the opening deficit of Rs 3149.04 crore will lead to a budget deficit of Rs 2149.04 crore at the end of the year 2018-2019”, said Sarma in the BJP-led Sarbananda Sonowal Government’s third budget.
It is also proposed to increase the tender fee from Rs 8.25 to Rs 100 for tenders up to Rs 20 lakh and Rs 500 for tenders beyond Rs 20 lakh.
In relief to small tea growers, the budget proposes to exempt specified land cess on green tea leaves.

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