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Friday, July 30, 2021

Assam to create new department for indigenous faith and culture: Himanta Biswa Sarma

“Our tribes and communities have their own set of beliefs, customs and practices…the Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture is aimed to preserve such practices,” said Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: July 11, 2021 7:35:01 am
Assam to create new department for indigenous faith and culture: Himanta Biswa SarmaHimanta Biswa Sarma said that in the coming months, legislations related to population control, cow protection, and marriage will be brought in by the government. (Express photo/file)

The Assam Cabinet on Saturday announced the creation of an independent department to protect and preserve the “faith, culture and traditions of tribes and indigenous communities” of the state.

“Our tribes and communities have their own set of beliefs, customs and practices…the Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture is aimed to preserve such practices,” said Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a press conference here. He added that the finance ministry will allocate a separate budget for it.

Sarma also announced a number of financial reforms. He said that while department heads can green signal projects and schemes worth Rs 2 crore and below, a standing finance committee headed by chief secretary, will take the call on projects worth Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.

“Apart from that, those between Rs 5 crore and Rs 100 crore will be looked at by a special standing finance committee headed by the finance minister and for projects over Rs 100 crore, only the cabinet can give the go-ahead,” he added.

Sarma further stated that in the coming months, legislations related to population control, cow protection, and marriage will be brought in by the government. “You can expect some big announcements in our budget towards population control with regard to things like voluntary sterilisation. All this will be notified in a month,” he said.

He also said that a marriage law will be introduced. “This won’t be like a love jihad law…I don’t believe in the word. It will apply to all faiths. Even Hindus can cheat Hindus…this [law] is not just against Muslims,” he said.

In the run up to elections in Assam, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that if the BJP comes to power in Assam, laws will be implemented against “love jihad” and “land jihad”. These found mention in the party’s manifesto as well.

In November last year, Sarma, who was the state’s health and finance minister then, had spoken about the proposed law saying that it would require the man and the woman to disclose details like their source of income, profession, address and religion in a government form prior to marriage.

The budget session of the Assembly will begin on July 12.

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