The Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh has thanked the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley for announcing "National Bamboo Mission" in the Annual Budget presented by him today with an allocation of Rs.1,290 crore for it.
Speaking to media persons here today, soon after presentation of the budget, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Bamboo Mission has a special significance for Northeast and the announcement made by the Finance Minister today is a vindication of the Union Government's continued commitment to the development of the region. He said, it is also a pleasant coincidence that the budget announcement by Shri Arun Jaitley has come close on the heels of the Union Cabinet's decision to amend the 90 year old "Indian Forest Act of 1927" and the amendment has exempted the bamboo grown in the non-forest land from the Forest Act. The Cabinet decision followed by the budget announcement today, will serve as a game-changer by generating revenue and, at the same time, creating avenues of employability, particularly in the Northeast, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh also lauded the announcement of Rs 10,000 crore as "Fishery Fund" which will also benefit the people in Northeast.
Commenting on the overall highlights of the budget, Dr Jitendra Singh said, while the Finance Minister has been keen to take care of every section of society, the most significant part is the sensitivity with which it has addressed itself to some of those sections which had earlier not received the kind of attention they deserved. For example, this is for the first time that a Government has acknowledged the contribution of the salaried class which is contributing the bulk of income tax collections throughout the country and accordingly, certain exemptions announced specifically for this class.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the budget also deserves to be complimented for having evidently addressed the issue of the increasing population of senior citizens in India which is indeed going to become a bigger issue in the years to come. As the average lifespan increases, not only the number of senior citizens increases, but they are also faced with the issues of late-age illness, lack of caretakers for help and financial constraint. This, he said, has been taken care of by exemption of the interest on bank account from income tax up to Rs.50,000, enhancement of the health insurance amount up to Rs.50,000 and hike in medical expenditure.
In addition, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the budget this year has floated a new concept of "Operation Green" with special focus on enhancing the income of the farmers.
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