GUWAHATI: In a bid to add more dynamism to state government’s initiatives of financial inclusion and bringing all sections of the people under the ambit of banking sector and cashless transaction, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ceremonially launched ‘Chah Bagichar Dhan Puraskar Mela 2017-18’ by distributing cheques to beneficiaries at a function held at Sarbananda Singha auditorium in Tinsukia on Tuesday.
Under the newly-launched scheme, steps have been taken to extend the fruits of demonetisation to the people belonging to tea community who have already opened their bank accounts during the period of demonetisation by crediting an amount of Rs 2500 in each of their accounts. Further, another Rs 2500 would be credited to the accounts which are uninterruptedly operated for six months from now in the next phase. It may be noted that during demonetisation period, altogether 6,58,250 tea garden workers opened their bank accounts and the state government would incur an expenditure of Rs. 182 crore for giving financial incentives to all the account holders belonging to the community and similar amount would be released after six months.
Sonowal termed the day as ‘historic’ for the state. “The tea garden community constitutes an important segment of the demography of Assam and they have been contributing selflessly to the promotion of state’s economy. Our government is working to bring them under the ambit of govt’s broad spectrum of financial inclusion”.
Underscoring the contribution of the tea community in strengthening the socio-economic fabric of the state, Sonowal acknowledged the problems faced by the community since ages. “It has been one of the commitments of our government to solve all the problems faced by the people belonging to tea community. If they lag behind, the overall development of the state would suffer. Our government would take all possible steps for ameliorating their condition and ensuring their development”, he assured.
He further informed that the government would set up skill development centres in all the tea gardens of the state in a bid to skilling the youth of the community and providing them better job opportunities. Moreover, for educational improvements of the students of the community, Sonowal announced government’s decision to set up of ME and High Schools in the tea garden areas.
Minister of Finance, Health and Education etc. Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma in his speech thanked the people of the tea community for responding to the state government’s request for opening the record number of bank accounts during the demonetisation period. He also mentioned that all the account holders would now be entitled to all facilities of the government like PM Suraksha Bima Yojana.
Further as an extension to state government’s gesture of helping the people of the tea community, a scheme is on the pipeline wherein a pregnant woman belonging to the tea community would be given Rs. 12,000 to look after her nutritional needs and support the family before three months of her delivery without even going to work, Dr. Sarma mentioned.
He also informed that during 2018, state govt. would set up another 100 High Schools in the tea garden areas and adequate number of teachers would also be appointed. He further announced that the government would earmark five percent of its development fund for improvement of roads and other facilities in the tea garden areas. The state govt. would also set up 700 community halls in all the tea gardens of the state, Dr. Sarma said.