The decision is in line with the BJP-led government’s repeated assertions that the state’s demography and indigenous cultures need protection from the onslaught of immigrants.
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said people of “all indigenous faiths” would reap the benefits of the schemes that will be rolled out by the new department.
“Our tribal people have their own language and culture. They have their own faiths. But financial assistance from successive governments to protect their traditions had been lacking so far,” he told reporters. “Since they don’t have the resources or the ability to mobilise donations to celebrate and preserve their traditions, the government has decided to preserve and protect their traditions with necessary support.”
The communities identified by the government for such schemes include the Bodos, tea tribes, Morans, Mottocks, Rabhas and Mishings. “Our cabinet has requested the finance minister to make a substantial budget allocation for the new department since it is a noble initiative,” the CM said.
In another major decision on administrative and financial reforms, Sarma said the cabinet had decided that departmental committees could henceforth approve schemes with allocations up to Rs 2 crore. This will eliminate red tape and help officials take faster decisions on new projects, he said.
Departmental committees will be headed by the commissioner of the department concerned. For projects worth Rs 2-5 crore, a meeting of the standing finance committee, chaired by the chief secretary, will be held every Friday. Projects in the Rs 5-100 crore band will go through a special standing finance committee headed by the finance minister. Departmental commissioners will be the member secretaries. Meetings of this committee will be held every Thursday.