Charging minimal processing fee for events should not be criticised: Assam CM

Charging minimal processing fee for events should not be criticised: Assam CM

Guwahati, Nov 22 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said that the state government is allocating nearly Rs 50 crore this year for organising various traditional festivals and charging a minimal permission processing fee should not be criticised. The statement came following criticism from opposition parties over the revision in user charges and fees for citizen-centric service delivery through a portal.

''We charge Rs 300 for processing permission, it is important to note that we are allocating nearly Rs 50 crore this year for organising our traditional cultural festivals. For instance, if a Bihu committee receives Rs 1.5 lakh from the government, it is unlikely that anyone would criticise us for collecting Rs 300 for the state exchequer,'' Sarma posted on X.

The state government provides Rs 1.5 lakh to each Bihu committee for organising the festival.

Sarma said that for his government, it is of utmost importance to preserve and promote the state's culture.

''Starting this year, we will be providing a financial grant of Rs 25,000 for celebrating the Rass Festival in 3,000 locations. This initiative aims to support and encourage the celebration of this traditional festival across our region,' the chief minister said.

A recent government notification said a dozen services such as filing e-complaint, e-FIR, passport, and permission for holding religious events have been exempted from any fee.

Political rallies, sporting events and events would entail a permission fee of Rs 2,000 while Rs 500 would be charged for clearance to organise street plays and awareness programmes or rallies.

Similarly, permission to organise the Bihu celebrations and other cultural programmes, meetings, and conferences would be charged a fee of Rs 300.

The remaining services would be provided for fees ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 50,000, the notification said.

Assam Pradesh Congress President Bhupen Borah said that the BJP must be stopped from returning to power in 2024 if the people want to get some respite, as the way things are going, ''this government will soon tax the air we breathe''.

The state unit of the Aam Aadmi Party also criticised the decision to ''levy a tax on organising events'' and shift the burden of loans taken by this government on the common people. PTI DG NN

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