Guwahati, Sep 4 (PTI) The Assam government on Thursday announced that it will deposit Rs 3,000 in the bank accounts of around eight lakh tea garden workers by November 15, months ahead of the assembly elections.
The state government deposited Rs 2,500 in their bank accounts in 2017-18 amd 2018-19 as part of the scheme, but it was discontinued in the last financial year.
'The scheme was not implemented in 2019-2020 but it will be done in 2020-21 with a target of reaching eight lakh workers,' state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
While bank accounts of 6,33,411 tea garden workers were opened in 2017-18, in the next financial year it increased to 7,15,979.
The state government will increase the amount deposited in these accounts to Rs 3,000 and it will be done by November 15, he said.
Sarma further said that the construction of 120 new high schools in the tea gardens has already begun and classes are expected to begin in April next year.
He also said that the Swami Vivekananda Youth Empowerment Yojana, announced in 2017-18, did not see much success due to the lack of cooperation from the banks but has now been redesigned to help youths become entrepreneurs.
The scheme, earlier under the Industries and Commerce Department, will now be implemented by the Finance Department, which with the help of the deputy commissioners, will select the beneficiaries.
As per the scheme, the government will provide Rs 50,000 each to the members of NGOs, farmer producer organisations or self-help groups who have registered before September 1.
'This is not a loan but just a seed capital,' Sarma said.
The Finance Department will start a portal on September 16 and people can apply there.
The scheme will benefit two lakh youths below the age of 40 but all applicants should be high school-pass, Sarma said.
They can also approach banks for loans against the amount provided by the government, he said.
The minister further announced that the government has already approved 5,547 applications, seeking education loan subsidy of Rs 50,000 but it could not be disbursed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has again started accepting applications for those students who could not avail the opportunity earlier and they can apply till September 20, he said.
The amount would be released between October 7-10, he added.
Sarma said these schemes are part of the 'Resurgent Assam' programme and will prove that the past five years is a legacy for the future.
Elections in the state are due in April-May next year.
'We do not work with elections in mind but these schemes prove that a small state like Assam can implement such big and innovative ideas. Besides, if we do good work people will vote for us,' he said.
Sarma said that as the finance minister he was planning for the last two years to spend more on different schemes ahead of the elections but the COVID-19 pandemic hampered that.
He said discussions will soon be held to decide on lifting the austerity measures imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI DG SOM SOM