The BJP-led government has been vocal against “aggression of Muslim migrants” and the new department is likely to start its work with top priority to some of the areas which have been mostly affected by influx, government sources said.
Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, said people of “all indigenous faiths” will reap the benefits, including the Adivasis in tea gardens.
“Our tribal people have their own language and culture. They have their own religious faiths. But official assistance from the governments was lacking,” said Sarma. Since they don’t have huge financial resources to collect donations to celebrate their faiths, Sarma said the government has decided to preserve and protect their traditions with necessary financial support.
He added that Bodo, tea tribes, Moran, Mottock, Rabha, Mishing and other indigenous communities living in Assam will get support from the department, including measures to promote traditional dance and music. “Our cabinet has requested the finance minister to make a substantial budget allocation for the department since it is a noble initiative,” Sarma said.
In another major decision on administrative and financial reforms, he said the cabinet has decided that departmental committees will approve schemes worth Rs 2 crore and below. This will help officials take decisions faster to start new projects.
Departmental committees will be headed by the commissioner of the department concerned. Sarma said it will reduce red tape to a great extent as the files won’t have to go through tables in finance, planning and other related departments. “Even without consent of the minister concerned, the departments can now start planning projects below Rs 2 crore,” he said.
For projects between Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore, Sarma said every Friday, a meeting of the standing finance committee chaired by the chief secretary will be held. “The resolutions of the standing finance committee will be the approvals for such schemes and the documents won’t be required to be sent to the finance or planning department,” he added.
Sarma said for projects worth Rs 5 crore to Rs 100 crore, there will be a special standing finance committee headed by the state finance minister where departmental commissioners will be the member secretaries. Meetings of this committee to be held every Thursday have been empowered to approve the projects upto Rs 100 crore for any department.
But for the over Rs 100-crore proposals, the department concerned will directly go to the cabinet to get the approval.
“Documents won’t move around tables but it’s the agenda that will be discussed, reducing red tape which we call bureaucratic hurdles,” Sarma said. He, however, said that after approval for the projects from committees, these will go for the final nod of the minister concerned.