In a heartwarming gesture of support and communal celebration, the Assam government has announced a remarkable initiative that not only enriches the cultural landscape of the state but also extends a generous hand to local communities. This benevolent move comes ahead of the grand Durga Puja festival, a vibrant and cherished festival celebrated with immense zeal and devotion across Assam. The government’s decision to allocate ₹10,000 as grants-in-aid to 6,953 puja pandals is a testament to their commitment to preserving and nurturing Assam’s rich cultural heritage.
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The Grand Announcement
The announcement was made following a state cabinet meeting held in the city of Guwahati, presided over by the esteemed Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. The decision to allocate grants-in-aid to Durga Puja pandals is not merely a financial transaction; it signifies the government’s endorsement of the cultural significance and the role these pandals play in fostering a sense of community and tradition in the state.
Assam Tourism Minister Jayanta Mall Baruah, while addressing the media, elaborated on this gracious decision. He explained that ₹10,000 would be disbursed to each of the 6,953 Durga Puja pandals. This financial support is expected to enable the organizers to enhance the grandeur and spirit of the festival, thereby adding to the joy of the celebrations.
Minister’s Vision for Assam
But that’s not all. The Assam state cabinet has more in store to enrich the lives of the people. In a forward-looking move, the cabinet decided that all cabinet ministers would immerse themselves in the heart of the local communities by staying in a particular village for five days and five nights. This unique initiative is scheduled from December 25 to January 10, 2024.
During their stay, the ministers will actively engage in assessing the practical implementation of various welfare schemes. This includes evaluating the level of saturation achieved in these programs, effectively bridging the gap between government policies and ground-level execution. This hands-on approach highlights the government’s commitment to ensuring that the benefits of their schemes reach the grassroots, where they are needed the most.
Education and Infrastructure Development
The government’s commitment to education and infrastructure development is evident through its decision to lay the foundation stones for 400 new buildings, focusing on high and higher secondary schools. Among these, 100 will be completely new schools situated in the tea garden areas. This strategic move seeks to address the critical need for educational facilities in these regions.
Moreover, for the renovation of existing school buildings, a substantial allocation of ₹7 crore will be made for each school. The foundation stones for these renovation projects will also be laid between December 25 and January 10, 2024. The government’s unwavering dedication to education and infrastructure development paves the way for a brighter future for the youth of Assam.
Land Settlement for Indigenous Families
Another heartening decision taken by the state cabinet is the settlement of land in favor of 123 indigenous, landless families. This includes 105 families in Charaideo and 18 families in Darrang. The purpose of this initiative is to provide homesteads for these families in urban areas under Mission Basundhara 2.0.
The offer of settlement has already been extended to more than 55,000 landless families, following the necessary approvals from respective district SDLACs and oversight by Guardian Ministers. This not only addresses the issue of landlessness but also serves as a beacon of hope for indigenous families in Assam.
Financial Prudence and Healthcare Support
To strengthen the financial health of the state, the cabinet has approved the holiday list for 2024. As part of this financial restructuring, the outstanding loan amount of ₹54 crore and outstanding interest of ₹10.92 crore as of March 31, 2023, for the Assam Financial Corporation, will be converted towards equity capital of the Corporation. This prudent financial step underscores the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.
In the healthcare sector, a significant decision has been made to enhance the support for doctors. Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) will be provided to doctors under the Health Department once every 5 years of service length, commencing from January 1, 2024. This crucial policy change ensures that healthcare professionals are duly recognized for their service and dedication.
Empowering Renewable Energy
The commitment to sustainable energy solutions is demonstrated by the state cabinet’s decision to implement the 24-MW Karbi Langpi Middle-II Hydro Power Project. This project will be executed at a revised cost of ₹417.32 crore and is expected to generate employment opportunities for 150 people during the construction phase and 44 people during the operation phase. This underscores Assam’s drive towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Strengthening Industrial Development
In an endeavor to bolster the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), the state cabinet has decided to effectively utilize the investment of ₹758.75 crore made by the Assam government under Grants-in-Aid. This investment will be converted into equity investment by the Assam government in AIDC. The authorized share capital of AIDC will also be enhanced, rising from the existing ₹150 crore to ₹1,000 crore. These measures aim to strengthen and empower AIDC as a premier industrial development corporation in Assam, fostering economic growth and development.
In conclusion, the Assam government’s recent cabinet decisions reflect a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach. The combination of cultural support, education, infrastructure development, land settlement, financial prudence, healthcare support, and renewable energy initiatives reaffirms the government’s commitment to the welfare and development of the people of Assam. These measures not only bring immediate relief and support but also set the stage for a brighter and more sustainable future.
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