“We will be preparing a participatory budget. Earlier, only groups and parties were consulted for budget preparation. This year, we are inviting suggestions from the general public also,” state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma told reporters on Tuesday.
An advertisement has been put in all newspapers of the state by the government urging people to send their suggestions through an email address mentioned therein, Sarma said.
The budget, to be laid in the state Assembly on July 26, will incorporate people’s suggestions wherever feasible, he said.
“From next year, we plan to make people’s participation in larger number. The deputy commissioners of all districts will be asked to hold seminars and meetings with the general public and forward the suggestions to the government,” the minister said.
On the criticism of the state government’s decision to increase VAT on certain consumables, he asserted that prices of concerned commodities have not gone up as all these products are sold on the basis of MRP.
The one per cent VAT increase has been absorbed in the profit margin at the producers’ end and not passed on to the consumers, Sarma claimed.
Stating that the Assam Drug Dealers’ Association has given in writing that the VAT increase will not cause price rise of medicines in the state, he claimed prices of about 30 medicines have instead decreased due to steps initiated by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
“We will keep a close watch on the market and if price of any commodity increases due to the VAT increase, we will review our decision,” the minister added.
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