The industry of North-East has welcomed the maiden Union budget of Narendra Modi government, presented by Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley, yesterday in the Lok Sabha. "The budget leaves no one in doubt about the intent and roadmap of the new government in the matter of FDI, private Investment, PPP in order to usher into an inclusive growth and revive the investment climate to bring back the economy on high growth trajectory," said RS Joshi, chairman of Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), the apex industry body of North-East.Joshi said the Union budget carried "stamp of change" on the one hand and "maintained the sanctity of continuity" on the other. "Lack of proper connectivity and infrastructure is one of the primary reasons for under development of North-East. Both the railways and highways have received substantial budgetary outlay in the Union budget". This is in addition to the 54 per cent hike provided for in the railway projects in North-East in the rail budget," said Sandipan Chakravortty, chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) North-East Council. CII expects the railways to utilise this substantial fund to complete the 23 ongoing projects - in particular the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge and the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar gauge conversion project.
The 2014-15 budget has made an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore for the North-Eastern states. Union ministries need to spend at least 10 per cent of their budgetary allocations in the region. "We welcome finance minister's initiatives in the matter of North-East like special focus on national and state highways, venture capital for start-ups, increased outlays for skill development, sports university in Manipur, boost to organic farming etc.," added Joshi. Abhijit Barooah, co-chairman of CII's North-East Council said that the announcement of constructing 15,000 km of Gas Grid provides an opportunity for the region to get connected to the National Gas Grid. "Making available natural gas for the automobile, domestic and industrial sector in cities like Guwahati will improve economic activity as well reduce the vehicular pollution level and improve quality of life," he added. However, for Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, the Union budget was "disappointing." In a statement, Gogoi said that there was no indication of good days (achche din) for the common man in the budget.Gogoi further said whatever allocations Assam had got in the budget can be termed as 'peanuts' and this could hardly fulfil the expectations of the common man of the state.